(Yes, I know, it’s a bit later than usual for me to be posting. But the heaters went kaput in the clinic and it’s forecast to be -67F today, so I’ve been dealing with that.)
My sister’s house has long been my home base. During all of my nomadic adventures, her place in Austin was where my mail went. It was where that random key I could never quite identify always worked. There was a big green couch I slept on. A lot. Even when I lived in Austin and had my own place, she would occasionally come home to find me asleep on the couch or raiding the fridge. But that was years ago. I’ve been based in the States for the last decade. I’ve only ducked out for random, extended adventures twice in that time frame.I’m respectable now. An established member of the community. So those days are behind me.
Except that now I’m in Antarctica. She just laughed when I told her that when I needed a “permanent” address for some paperwork, I listed her Austin address. Some things never change. I spent the week or so prior to my deployment based out of her place. I spread everything that was travelling with me all over the living room floor to figure out what I could do without in order to meet my travelling weight restrictions. It was tough.
I’m a climber. I love climbing frozen waterfalls. There was no way I could move to Antarctica and not take my ice climbing tools. Which meant I also needed my boots. And crampons. And harness. And there’s a small, indoor climbing wall. So I needed my rock climbing shoes. Without my climbing gear, I would have made weight without even thinking about it. But that wasn’t happening. So I had to jettison some other superfluous luggage. So, everything was strewn about her living room being scrutinized.
Do I really need xyz for a winter in Antarctica? How much does this weigh? For one of these I can take two of those. How much underwear do I really need to take?
During all this, my sister came to hang out with me. It was an opportunity to spend time together before I deployed. We’ve been through this routine once or twice. She’s used to it. But even after all my adventures, after all the times I’ve used her house as a launch pad and anchor, she can still get surprised.
“You’re taking a sarong? To Antarctica?! What are you? Archer???”
She had just compared me to an asinine, drunken, cartoon super spy. We both had a laugh.
I laughed even more when I first actually wore a sarong. In winter, in Antarctica. I’m in a band down here. I’ve been playing the drums poorly on and off since high school. A problem most every drummer can attest to is the dreaded swamp-ass. I thought certainly this would not be an issue when it’s -40F outside. Once again, I was wrong. Thermal underwear and jeans and drumming can be a terrible combination. But playing in a sarong? Now that’s comfort. Pasty white legs, getting pastier every day they go without seeing the sun, sticking out beneath a green sarong sitting behind a drum set playing 1980s punk rock in a well-equipped “band room” and then throw in some big wool socks and the same Vans I wear every day and it is a hell of a sight.
So every Wednesday and Sunday night I channel my inner Archer and sport a sarong while poorly rocking out. I didn’t know what to expect when I got down here, but I sure as shit didn’t expect this.