So, my week to write for the station news has finally arrived and I find myself stuck for a topic. There’s a certain amount of irony in this, as the last three weeks I have written for one of my fellow expeditioners here who doesn’t enjoy writing as I do. For those weeks we had no end of topics.
So there we were on a sunny Sunday morning discussing my quandary over a cup of tea. It was about smoko time, and naturally we needed chocolate biscuits. Now, several of us here prefer our mint slice chilled, so there is always a packet or three in the fridge at just the right temperature and firmness. The unwritten rule is “you empty a packet, you replace it”. Alas! Much to my dismay someone had emptied the last packet and not restocked the supply! Naturally I threw my arms in the air and announced my disgust in question of who would be so inconsiderate. This was met with laughter and mocking from the other two who were with me. Fortunately they know me well enough by now to realise that I was not serious. And from here developed an idea for this article.
At Mawson during winter we are fourteen people from all walks of life living in close confines, each with differing personalities and backgrounds. It is therefore inevitable that at some stage or another people are going to do things that others find irritating. It is only natural that things some wouldn’t give a second thought to, will seem inconceivably inconsiderate to others.
From our disappointing mint slice incident, the conversation continued on to other little things that happen on station that have the potential to disrupt our harmonious existence. It also started me thinking about how well we all get on with each other. Fortunately, everyone who is selected to live and work in Antarctica has proven during the selection process that they have the qualities necessary to live in close confines with others. I recall one of the exercises I participated in during my selection centre all the way back in March 2014. We were presented with a scenario that gave us the opportunity to demonstrate our willingness to help others when the need arose. I was surprised by the number who steadfastly maintained their stance of unhelpfulness, and the reasons they gave for their attitude. All of us here pitch in and help each other at various times, and we each have different methods for dealing with issues when they arise, but the critical thing is that we do deal with them somehow and don’t dwell on things. My personal coping method is to help where I can, consider the bigger picture, and look for the best in people. Maintaining a sense of humour helps as well. Not that I can say that anyone has really been so inconsiderate as to annoy me greatly.
Mind you, a fridge bare of mint slice, or not filling up the milk jug, could have the potential to change the course of history! Oh well, the sun will still rise tomorrow…