Burgers and The Pony Effect

As today is Monday, I’m supposed to be off tomorrow but last night we changed things up AGAIN so I won’t have a day off until Thursday now. The upside is that Thursday is “Yank Night” at the bar at Scott Base but given that I haven’t even set foot in a bar at McMurdo yet, I’m not sure I care that much, particularly after seeing all the fools come raiding the galley on Saturday after the bars close. I’m also going to be pretty damn exhausted working 10 hour days for 9 days straight so we’ll see how much I feel up to doing anything other than going for a hike.

The bonus is that because Thanksgiving is this month, I get an “extra” day off at some point. In theory, it’s supposed to mimic how everyone else is getting the Monday and Tuesday closest to Thanksgiving off to celebrate, but because we’re the ones keeping them fed, we’ll definitely all be working over Thanksgiving. So our celebratory days off will probably not be back-to-back and they won’t be the same as everyone else’s, but that’s pretty standard for the food service industry.

Last night was the Opening Night for Burger Bar – it’s every Sunday at Gallagher’s (one of the bars) and it’s the only time that prepared food a) is available somewhere not the galley and b) costs money. I think it’s like $5 for a burger or something and the limit is two patties per person. All the food still comes from the galley supplies; it’s just cooked by volunteers who get paid in tips. Of course, Burger Bar starts at 8pm which is what time my shift starts so there would be none of that delicious, meaty nonsense for me…or so I thought. Turns out for Midrats Lunch that night, we would be doing….burgers! Unfortunately, that meant that there was very little prep needed so I spent an hour and a half constructing four tuna casseroles for Midrats Dinner and then kind of twiddled my thumbs trying to come up with stuff to stay busy for the next few hours until lunchtime. At lunch, I had the brilliant idea to check one of the reach-ins and sure enough, we still had some bacon left from the previous day’s breakfast so I made myself a bacon cheeseburger for lunch and while it wasn’t The Counter or even In N Out, it was pretty damn delicious and I’d wager they didn’t have the option of adding bacon at Gallagher’s. Glad to know there are still SOME perks to working in the kitchens!

Then, because I’d prepped all the tuna casseroles already for dinner, it was a pretty slow rest of the “day” for me. We tried to get ahead on prep a little bit since Alex would be off the next day but man those hours just drag after about 2am.

After work, I ate Brinner with the DAs and while the others went outside on their smoking break, Michelle and I had a little chat about what I’m going to call The Pony Factor.

While talking with friends before I left the US, one of the things that came up frequently was the male-to-female ratio, and how it would make me a hot commodity down here (or at the very least, a cute one). I regularly trotted out an analogy to summarize that situation that had been rather wonderfully drawn in a cartoon by a past Antarctican, Tessa Hulls:

However, not only have I felt like there are far more women than I was expecting but I was also not prepared to be given looks that, rather than making me feel leered at, instead have made me feel awkwardly self-conscious, like when you have spinach in your teeth. I mean, to be sure, I’ve been hit on a couple times already so there are definitely the guys that are more openly interested in pursuing some kind of romantic dalliance with the first available woman they encounter down here but, for the most part, every time I walk through the galley dining room, I wonder if I’ve got my shirt inside out or a “kick me” sign on my back or a booger hanging from my nose; those are the kinds of looks I’m getting. Michelle says that is, in fact, the Pony Factor in effect although it certainly doesn’t feel as openly lecherous as I’d been expecting. But it was reassuring to hear that I wasn’t imagining those looks.

After Brinner, I went home and changed and headed to the gym for a quick run. Some of you may know how very excited I’d been for the marathon/half marathon that takes place in January…I hate to say it but as the days progress, I’m becoming less convinced the full marathon is going to happen this year. As much as I want it, my visits to the Gerbil Gym make it pretty clear that running on a treadmill in there for any more than an hour will make me insane very very quickly.

It’s also hard to find that kind of time because there ALWAYS seems to be someone waiting for one of the five treadmills. As it warms up, I might be able to get some longer runs in outside and I’ve already run the three miles out to Hut Point and back a couple times but it’s so reliant on the weather being good, it’s just not something I can bank on. But I haven’t given up on the half yet – sure isn’t it only twice what I’ve been doing on the treadmill or so? We’ll see. For now, I’ve got to get ready for work. I’m REALLY, whole-bodily, looking forward to my day off….and looking forward even more to getting this election over and done with! Tomorrow is Tuesday here but I’m going to have to wait a whole extra day to find out! *sigh*


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