AC in the milking parlor.

Universities building recreational facilities and hospitals putting in hospitality functions (cafeterias, saunas, reading rooms and exercise equipment) are surely variants of what I think of as putting AC in the milking parlor. Making the cows more comfortable in their stalls is supposed to make up for the fact that their penchant for roaming and rolling in the grass is being stymied by the stanchions to which they are permanently attached — the better to exploit them via the milk extraction machine.

Hospital clients are, perhaps, more exacting and articulate about what actually serves and what doesn’t, but the husbandry is similar. The primary objective is exploitation. And, it isn’t just the symbolic stuff (dollars) that’s being extracted; there’s also time and the peripathetic impulse that are constrained. Indeed, keeping things in place may well be the unexpressed ulterior motive.

As someone who likes “a place for everything and everything in its place,” I understand that. Moreover, I am fully aware that the impulse to impose restraints needs to be controlled, if the critters are to be free. Freedom means being able to roam.