Everything changes. Not one thing will remain the same from the beginning to the end of the world.
Even God will learn from our mistakes.
They say if you don't hook up by the Halloween party you're doomed to a month of loneliness at McMurdo. And the lustre wears off Halloween romances by Thanksgiving in November, where the process repeats, Christmas being the breaking point. After Christmas, everyone gives up while turning their sights to home. With few exceptions ice romances stay on the ice. Sometimes there are spouses and SOs to get back to. Sometimes the brilliant light of northern day makes everyone different.
We don't choose the same mates in the real world we do on the ice. There are talents which are useful in the northern world which serve no purpose on the ice. Things that are beautiful on the ice don't attract us back home. Context changes everything.
This is called anthropology. I know an anthropologist who studied the McMurdo coupling phenomena. Her conclusion was that women had a different, more powerful societal role here on the ice but for some reason most of them didn't exercise it. It wasn't for lack of desire.
I remember reading her conclusions and wondering what continent she was studying. What she'd written wasn't my experience. To me, it seemed that women who wouldn't raise their voice to a shortchanging Macy's cashier back north were hitting on welders with biceps the girth of redwoods.
We can't help but seeing through our own eyes. And the freedom to approach without backlash whomever she chooses wasn't the power my anthropologist friend wrote about. She was writing about the hierarchy of jobs and the apparent supremacy of the physically strongest, which has dictated our roles in society since there were societies. A lot of that is upside-down in Antarctica, she writes. Yet, women aren't striking at the proverbial jugular of opportunity.
I wonder if that's because there isn't any worthwhile opportunity beyond choosing with whom you're going to sleep tonight. Until the volcano erupts breaking the umbilical to the north, this is going to be northern society in a petri dish rather than a new world. But count the minutes after the flights stop. As soon as we run out of parts for our D9s and diesel for our electricity and heat, we of the northern species are going to degrade to a Lord of the Flies story faster than a helo falls when the power fails. Whoever's got the ingenuity and strength to catch penguins and seals is going to get the mates and the shelter and the army. Provide the food and heat -- everyone bows. We the misfortunate become the indigenous Antarctic race. Then we'll start all over.
It really isn't any different than it's ever been.
I know. Cynical boy.
Once I heard of a romance that started on the ice and lasted well into the future. It ended on January 15, 2053 when the Pine Island Bay Glacier slid off the continent and the lovers were joyfully crushed under a mountain of ice the size of Montana.
And then it continued on a wagon train crossing the great plains in 1852.
Some things neither start, nor end.
Because you must know, I have not hooked up with anyone, nor have I at any previous Halloween party in my five ice seasons. Nor have I made the attempt. The reasons should be obvious, and it is not without a fiercely inflated ego that I mention I have rebuffed all encounters.
Though I have decided that all men need the experience, if only so we can see how our female counterparts exist in an electromagnetic field of desired and undesired approaches.
And also because at whatever hollow, superficial level you care to name, it's human nature to want to be wanted.
At any point in time there are things to which society ascribes much more importance than what's going on in your life. There are disasters and wars. Elections and coups. Birth and death.
How could this be anything other than the normal state of affairs on planet earth? It doesn't make you any less valid.
You'll get your chance. The trick is being ready when it comes.
Everything you have ever done, from your first breath to your eye passing over this word, has led you to this point.
Everything I have ever done has led me to the bottom of the earth.
It is the purpose of my being, and so are you.
McMurdo Station -- October 30, 2005