Yes, people, that's right: the very breaths you take within your home have a direct and dramatic affect on the price you pay for your gas utility bills...or so claims Judy R, a city employee of the Fairfield IL utility company.
Perhaps I should back up a bit. While attending school this semester, I have been spending a good deal of time at another residence in the same city as my school, thus leaving my house in Fairfield empty during the week. Cleverly imagining that I would be saving money on utilities during this harsh winter, I had been leaving my thermostat at home set at fifty degrees (fahrenheit, not celsius, mind you). After doing so for nearly a month and a half, I fully expected (as would many of you, I am sure) my gas utility bill to reflect that temperature. However, when I received my bill for the previous month, I was astonished to discover that not only had my bill increased, it had done so by nearly fifty-five fucking dollars. So yeah, I was pissed.
However, instead of flying straight to city hall and using my bill to inflict numerous papercuts all over the reproductive organs of the hapless gas-meter dyslexic who had recorded such a figure, I decided to give them the benefit of a doubt and instead placed a call (1-618-842-5016) to city hall: home of the gas utility people of Fairfield, where I spoke with Judy R.
After explaining to Judy R that I had not been staying at my home during the week, and had set my thermostat at a chilly (but not freezing) fifty degrees fahrenheit, and so was therefore confused as to how my bill had increased by fifty-five dollars, she told me this: that when a house is unoccupied, the gas utility bill always increases.
Naturally, this sounded like a big pile of poop. I expressed my disbelief in a less descriptive manner; instead telling her that I was a bit confused as to how that could be. And this, dear reader, was Judy R's explanation: when a house is constantly occupied by a bevy of (presumably) warm bodies, the heat that these bodies produce, and yes, the breaths they produce, contribute to the overall warmth of the house, therefore apparently taking about fifty-five dollar's worth of the burden of heating off of the heater.
Now i admit, I did not go to gas meter reading school, nor am I a gastroenterologist. In fact, i haven't even had gastroenteritis this year, so my interpretation of this astonishing phenomenon may be a weensy bit uneducated. However, when I asked Judy R to clarify exactly how a person could generate fifty-five dollar's worth of extra heat (thereby saving energy, rather than using it), she became angry that I was questioning the Breath Emission Theory of Gas Utility Reduction, proceeded to interrupt my inquiries and cut off my questions, declared that I was interrupting her, and hung up on me. At this point, Faithful Reader, I began to reconsider my earlier impulse to inflict numerous utility bill paper cuts upon the gas party responsible, but instead, I took a deep breath (and, according to the Judy R Breath Emission Theory of Gas Utility Reduction, saved a few bucks) and again dialed Fairfield City Hall (1-618-842-5016)...and got a busy signal. Six times. Upon the seventh(ish) call, it rang through, where I was again connected to Judy R. Instead of questioning her upon the sensitive subject of the Breath Emission Theory of Gas Utility Reduction, I calmly explained to her that I disliked being hung up on, and that I wished to discontinue my service with them, effective the first of next month. She interrupted (once again) and asked me where to send the final bill. Fed up at last, I informed Judy R that she could shove my final bill up her ass. Again, she hung up on me.
So, Dear Readers, I invite any and all of you to reach out and touch Judy R at the Fairfield Illinois City Hall (1-618-842-5016) and have her reveal how the Judy R Breath Emission Theory of Gas Utility Reduction can save you money! In the meantime, I am going to go out and find a few homeless people to breathe in my house until I move, (sort of a breathing-by-proxy), and hopefully save a few dollars. Peace out.
I wrote this nearly four years ago, when I was still in school and quite poor. To this day, I am still receiving that final bill. I send Judy R a Christmas card each year, care of the utility company, with a money order for one dollar to be applied toward that bill.