Thursday, November 8, 2007

Again they take wing

Well, the winterovers finally got their wish to leave Pole late in the evening yesterday. In the past three weeks I did most of my socializing with the "recently departed", so I guess I will have to now spend what free time I have getting to know the folks that are here this summer. It was kind of weird how that worked out.

Three flights came and went yesterday evening, the last staying on the ground for over an hour so the Today Show crew and a large entourage of various folks could have a whirlwind tour of our fair station. They got off the plane and spent quite a while out by the flight line, I guess doing an Iridium sat-phone call live to their daily broadcast, then were chauffeured over to the Pole markers for an extended photo shoot. It was funny coming into the galley, which overlooks the Pole, and seeing all the people lined up along the windows watching the antics outside. The whole circus then moved over to the Dome entrance, I think, and then came inside the new elevated station as a last stop. All the while their LC-130 Hercules was sitting on the ground with all engines turning, fuel burning, and a good number of support staff in place since there was a skier on the deck. I was in the hall talking to somebody about how surreal this whole media-plus-entourage event was, when the reporter (Anne Curry, sp?), B.K. Grant (Pole area director), cameraman, sound man, and a train of other people came rumbling past us. They had enough time to look into the science lab, a lounge, the dining room and kitchen before they were shuttled back towards their plane and McMurdo. It'll be interesting to see what turns up on their broadcast. For what it's worth, I'm the guy in the red hooded sweatshirt...

I seem to do this quite often, but I definitely over-analyzed this situation instead of just enjoying it. I started thinking about privileged societal classes, and how easy it is for some to acquire what it takes most people long labor and much sacrifice to achieve. I know that good PR can do a lot for this program, but it just seemed bizarre how much effort and how many resources went into ensuring a few folks got to have such an abbreviated trip of a lifetime. I guess this is a phenomenon I'll just have to adjust to working/living here at Pole during the summer, especially as there are going to be so many DVs and extra people here throughout the season and on the day of the new station's dedication ceremony in January. My own personal difficulties to even get down here at all last year as a dishwasher just kept running through my head, and I thought also of all the other folks that sacrifice a lot just to get the chance to come.

Putting all the mental baggage to the side, it was a fairly exciting and different way to spend an evening. And, as people who've been down here know, anything different is usually quite welcome. I'm proud to have gotten here, and even more proud to have earned the opportunity to return with a chance to really challenge myself and contribute to the program.

1 comment:

Neal said...

Just be glad that they weren't there longer or you would have been walking on pins and needles the whole time. Have a great summer and I'll see you in three.