25 January, 1997

>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
>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
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