Antarctica – More On Winter Washouts
Last night I went to a political movie and discussion about Leonard Peltier. It was the dumbest discussion I have ever stayed out of. The winter over crew have lost any brain cells they came with. They had a spelling bee (for amusement purposes) and spelled who, ‘hoo.’ They are nice and toasted, too fried to be useful at work and they get away with doing nothing, especially the ones that wear vacant expressions. They remind me of vampires. Some don’t want to leave, but it is obvious to everyone but them that they desperately need to. They seem to want to stay forever. Like prisoners who have learned to like their cells. I keep talking about them but if you saw them you would be fascinated too.
One guy at the Pole wanted to leave before his time to leave and started telling people he was going crazy and needed to get out. No one payed attention so he took matters into his own hands to prove his point he started carrying a hammer around and talking to it. He wrote yes on one side and no on the other and brought it every where he went. He ate dinner with it and slept with it and was constantly asking it ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions and addressing it as Mr. Hammer. They finally sent him home. I met him in Christchurch. He seemed sane. I didn’t hear the reason he left early until I got to McMurdo. It was quite the prank. We think it was a prank atleast.
I can not imagine being locked away in a population of 50 for 9 months, unable to go outside and with very limited internet or telephone connection and no outside world stimulation. Living in an extended night waiting for the sun, and to come back after months of darkness. Forgetting simple things, like how to spell ‘who,’ as your mind whithers due to lack of use. And if you have a problem at work you cannot quit and if you have a problem with another person, you cannot walk away or take time apart- cause you work, live, eat together. If you are injured or sick there is no specialist, no one to worry about your interests, because everyone has lots of routine day to day stuff to worry about just to survive.
If someone flakes out and they run the plant then who takes over and if no one takes over how do things stay running. You become interested in everything knowing that what you don’t know could kill you.