Nest™ is at risk of major lawsuits…

…unless it starts offering marriage counseling

I am stranded, naked, in a remote, icy wilderness and can’t get a fire started no matter how hard I rub two, ice-coated sticks together. I am desperately searching for shelter and warmth, but cannot find it. I pull some pine boughs on top of me, hoping for a reprieve. Nope, they are just as useless for keeping me warm as they were back in survival training. As I struggle for something to keep me alive, I open my eyes to see my dog Smokey sleeping on the covers I am desperately trying to pull over me. There is also an icy blast of air, like those that sweep over Lake Michigan in the winter, chilling me from the register above. I am not winning the tug-of-war for the blanket with Smokey because I don’t want to wake my wife. My poor sweetheart often has a hard time sleeping. I roll over, grab my smartphone, and pull up the Nest™ App. The temperature readout shows, “Colder than a well digger’s ass and falling fast.” The temperature setting reads -10° F. I didn’t even know you could set the air conditioner that low. Not wanting to disturb my sweetheart (and certainly not Smokey), I sneak into the closet, grab my flannel Christmas PJs (it is August by the way), and slink into the spare bedroom where I can have as many of my own covers as I want. Of course, I wake later to the opposite dream in which I am burning up in Death Valley, with layers of fur coats on that I can’t take off (why don’t logical things work in dreams anyway?). Yes, now I am hot. Maybe somebody turned up the thermostat. I assume it has to do with circadian rhythm and body temperature swings; or some other scientific sleep nonsense.

There was a time when only the man of the household controlled the thermostat

I am a modern man, confident in my status in the world, so I am not here to complain. But, there was a time when there was one master in control of the thermostat in the house. And if the gas and electric bill was too high, all of us in the household would hear about it. Winter time, just put on another layer and wear your snow suit to bed. Summer time, you should be outside anyway so don’t complain about how hot it is inside. Yes, that was the era when I, as a child, WAS the remote control. Our children of today, with a solid-state TV in every room of the house, just don’t get to enjoy the family TV hour in which we had to keep getting up to change the channel for dad, adjust the rabbit ears on top of the set, or just bang on the TV — ahhh, good times. Having the genetic makeup of my father, and his father before him, and so on, I MUST have the same sort low energy usage with our heating and cooling as they sought. Being of the modern era, I bought a Nest Thermostat™.

The marvel that is the Nest Thermostat™

I must say, in many ways, the Nest Thermostat™ is an amazing piece of design and engineering. It is beautiful, intuitive, and unbelievable simple to install and get integrated with the App. The App even asks you who else in the household you want to add as a controller. Of course I added my wife. You see, there are no warnings about the dangers of sharing direct thermostat control with someone who (naturally) does not share your same body heat regulator. In the few minutes it took me to ignore the first reminder of my wife to please refill Smokey’s water contraption, I had the thermostat installed and up and running. I must say, I enjoy being able to just turn on the fan or adjust the temperature from wherever I am instead of walking downstairs (or even returning home) to adjust the temperature. And it holds out the promise of high efficiency and lower utility bills by learning when we are out or when I am home alone and adjusting the thermostat accordingly. I look forward to the great savings the Nest Thermostat™ will realize for me. I am imagining the clever, young engineers who designed this, that have become so ubiquitous at all the “fusion” restaurants in Silicon Valley. I bow down to them, until…. the night in question in which I have lost control of the thermostat and all sense of propriety with temperature control. I now remember that when I met these young geniuses, they all had the same story. They all seemed to be working seven days a week for up to 15 hours a day for their high-tech behemoth, to make enough money to afford a $100K monthly rent payment in the San Francisco Bay Area. What that lifestyle does not allow them time to do is get married.

The relationship danger that is the Nest Thermostat™

Had those brilliant, young engineers been married, and frankly our age, they would have seen the danger of giving each partner equal access to the thermostats, anywhere, from our fingertips. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not insulting the engineers for their lack of foresight. And, of course I want to be a fully sharing partner with my wife. But, with great power comes great responsibility. At their age, I was the same. Relationships were new and exciting. If we did live together, we were still on our best behavior. We lived for the moment and for the weekend. We had little regard for the implications of long-term relationships and body temperature compatibility. Had the young engineers considered such conditions, the inventors of the Nest Thermostat™ would have also included relationship counseling as part of that eye-popping price tag. Or, perhaps, they would have included within the Nest Thermostat™ App a link to a relationship-therapy hot line. Heck, maybe they can now just develop their own Nest™ Relationship Counseling App to help partners negotiate one of the most dangerous conditions in modern society — sharing easy control of the thermostat. After all, we all want a good night’s sleep.