At 7:15AM tomorrow I leave for the south pole.
Not many times in your life you can say something like that.
Of course, I hang around with people who have been there. They tell me about it, I nod. Heard it all before lots of times. Now I'll see the flat white with my own eyes. Feel it with my own skin.
Thing about the south pole on November 4th, 2005. It's fifty degrees below zero fahrenheit. The pressure altitude is 11,000 feet. Humidity is zero percent. I expect to become hypoxic. I expect to be colder than hell.
I have been at altitudes like that before, skiing in Colorado. Though, it was ten degrees above zero when I was there. It will be sixty lower. They tell me that at this altitude and pressure my epidermis will freeze solid within about 20 seconds. I can't have anything exposed.
I plan to plant my footprint at the south pole itself. I'll add my imprint to the roughly 20,000 other people who have been there.
It's a selling point of the pole. Less than 20,000 people have ever been there in the history of the human race. It seems like a lot to me. I can say the same thing for my living room, only nobody died trying to get to it.
I'm expecting to become hypoxic. I'm expecting to experience short-term memory loss. I'm expecting to be cold as hell a lot of the four days I'll be there. I am expecting pain of many sorts. There will be about 150 other people there. It's going to be tough finding a place to sit in the galley.
I understand they have excellent bandwidth to the pole for 10 hours a day. I will try to get a wu out directly from pole while I am there. Otherwise, I'll have to node when I return to Mactown.
It would be great to write something intimate and sexy for you right now. It would be great to sit back and talk about love and how it feels when our skin glides against each other. It would be great to talk about the last time I saw you, or the last time we made love. It would be great to be able to focus enough to write a poem.
But I'm excited about going to the south pole. I'm nervous, actually, Will I have enough clothes on? Will I miss a tiny gap between my goggles and my balaclava, and my cheeks will freeze and I'll get awful frostbite blisters.
Will I think of you when I step out onto the polar plateau. Will I thank God again? Will I be in the first C131 to crash on its way, and die an awful death on the transantarctics?
This is a diary so I want to remember what I was thinking tonight, before bed, before I wake up early, trundle to the galley in my big red parka and bunny boots and put a few chocolate donuts in my pocket for the trip.
Lots of people have been to pole and stay there for months.
How much will my newbie mistakes hurt? I know how it works here, and how much you can hurt yourself doing stupid things, and someone else wants to use this computer.
So I can't write to you about sex and the last time we did it. I'll be Fermet. When I get to pole, I promise to write in public the details of every single minute.
I won't die.