Here at McMurdo, as I may have mentioned before, we work six-day weeks, ten hours a day. And it’s working, not dithering about on the computer checking Facebook and phoning your dentist to schedule a cleaning. In my department, we get a 25-minute lunch and, if we can spare the time, a 15-minute stretch break and that’s it. I’m not complaining, but I feel the need to explain why, when we do get our weekly day off, so many people spend it doing nothing.
One of my roommates slept for 36 hours straight. I’ve seen people wandering the halls in their pajamas, shuffling and glassy-eyed and no, it’s not because they’ve been drinking. Others set up in the galley with a book and don’t stir for half the day.
Me, I yearn to do nothing. But there is so much to do here, and so much of it is temporary… how long will the sea ice be thick enough for the trail to hold? How long will that seal be stretched out there right by the ice pier? It’s hard not to try to do everything at once, but I’ve seen enough people wear themselves out in the process that I’m working hard to pace myself.
So I was almost relieved when an outing I’d signed up for today was cancelled because the vehicle they were going to take had to go into the shop. Whew. It meant I could sleep in on this, my day off… and then do laundry, write Christmas cards, finish organizing Christmas packages and spend two hours getting shuttle driver training, do some volunteering at the library and then join my friends and co-workers for lunch.
Whew. I need a day off from my day off.
I am now, however, officially cleared to be a volunteer shuttle driver, both in the vans and the Airporters, which are used to take people to and from the runways and Scott Base. It was exciting to be driving out on the sea ice, but the biggest thrill for me was finally getting a clear view of Mt. Terror as I drove with my trainer over to Scott Base.
Yes, I live on an island with three volcanoes, one of which is called Mt. Terror. And if that is not the coolest thing ever, I don’t know what is.
Mt. Terror is the farthest of the three from base, and always shrouded in cloud, but today I had a great view of it (and a great view of Mt. Erebus, too, though I didn’t take a picture of that).
Now if only I’d see a damn penguin, that would be awesome.
Anyway, thanks for the emails and comments, but for those of you who’ve asked why I don’t update the blog more often, well, trust me, it’s not because I’m sitting around slacking!