I had an epiphany yesterday at the climbing wall, for which I am now “person of contact” and determine who is competent to play on said wall. It was a math epiphany. It goes like this:
There are expected to be about 100-150 people on the ice this winter. Given that there will *hopefully* be episodic flights throughout the winter, the number will fluctuate a bit. Now the reason that’s important is that our alcohol rations are: 4 bottles of wine OR 1 bottle of booze OR 24 beers per week. Plus there are 14 types of liquor at the bar. And at least 4 different types of wine at the Coffee House. So all that booze times all those people means that somewhere, on station, hiding is a room full of loveliness. Shangri-La on ice. But wait! Aren’t there flights coming in? Couldn’t it be restocked?
No. That is most certainly not an option. If the booze were to run out on account of a missed flight, which happens quite regularly, there would be mutiny. People would lose their shit. And I’m pretty sure it would become a medical emergency because one or two of these people would definitely go into DTs. So perhaps I should go in search of this magical storage area, the Antarctic unicorn.
I thought about this last night as I sat quietly at the bar, having a cold beer, and watched a young girl and her two companions throw back a few rounds of shots. All the buildings are in pretty close proximity down here and it is perpetual daylight, so I’m not terribly concerned. But it is definitely colder this week than last week. Today: -2F/-25F with wind chill. If one of these cats gets loaded and has trouble making it home, there could be a real issue. Once winter hits and it becomes perpetual night and temps drop (-70F without wind is still Condition 3 – unrestricted movement, ie “meh” weather), it’s not far fetched to imagine someone running into trouble. The night would make it difficult for a passerby to see a fellow over-winterer in trouble. The cold would dramatically shorten the time before hypothermia set in. Things are different down here. Even something as simple as tying one on. I’ve dealt with drunken hypothermia before (you know who you are). Even in the best of circumstances, it wasn’t pretty.
Fortunately, I haven’t heard of this ever happening before. But as one of the two medical providers, it’s my job to think about this nonsense. It’s now so cold, that when a big gust of wind blows, I get a brief episode of nausea. My boogers froze to the insides of my nose this morning as soon as I stepped out into the wind. Somehow, strangely enough, my feet always get sweaty.