25 January, 1997
>1/25/97 > >Yesterday I washed dishes. After weeks of whirling from place to place by >plane and helicopter, rock climbing in remote areas of the Dry Valleys, >hiking over terrain where no human has ever walked before, I had accepted >the job of dish washer. > >Actually, this was one of the better jobs during our clean-up operation >yesterday. It doesn't require much strength and it gave me time to think. >The clean-up work is for sorting, cleaning, and returning all of the >materials we took into the field. Everyone is expected to do the work. > >This is true in the field also. Most of the people who come to work in the >fields are either PhD's or graduates working on their PhD's. All are >expected to cook, clean, carry, scrub, and do whatever is needed to run a >field camp---even cleaning the poop tent (if you wish to know how this is >done, see January 24). Occasionally people that do not understand this >concept come to Antarctica expecting everyone else to fetch and carry for >them. These people are not respected and are often disliked by their >research team. > >Many teams have stories to tell about someone they had to retro (get the >out of the camp). For example, one foreign scientist was appalled that >American PhD's would cook, wash, and even clean latrines. He absolutely >refused to assist anyone and expected the others to do this work for him. >The primary investigator had him sent back to McMurdo. In another case a >grad student was so obnoxious that the researcher told her that the rest of >the team had to go to a meeting and then left her in New Zealand. > >Usually slackers (Scott's term for people who don't pull their weight) are >not retroed. They are just tolerated. Some of them eventually come >around, others just become more and more isolated from the group. In one >case a slacker had become so isolated from the group that no one noticed or >cared that he was not around. He had walked off without telling anyone and >was found dead at the base of a cliff the next day. > >Prima donas have no place in Antarctica and are a threat to themselves and >the team they work for in the event of an emergency. Such people usually >lived a pampered life at home and have few survival skills. They are >mentally unprepared for emergencies and are too selfish to help anyone but >themselves. > >Although such people are not uncommon in the U.S. They are, thankfully, >rather rare down here. > >This morning Bruce, Mike, Jon and Zach departed for New Zealand and, >eventually, home. Mike, Jon and Zach have classes to attend while Bruce >has classes to prepare for. I elected to remain here until January 29 >since I would prefer to prolong my time in Antarctica. My wife, Barb, will >meet me in New Zealand on January 30. > >Even though our research is through here I lucked into one last helicopter >ride with the Coast Guard (this is the only group we have not flown with). >Mike Parfit saw me just before he was to leave and said he was scheduled >for a ride out to the edge of the ice. Since he could not make it he told >them I would go instead. It was very nice of him to think of me. > >I didn't really know where this ride was going and no one else seemed able >to tell me either. So I was surprised and delighted to see that we were >flying straight at Erebus (an active volcano) and then around Castle Rock >(I plan to hike back to Castle Rock again soon). It was a really beautiful >flight. >Return to Bill Philips' Page
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