Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Scales of Justice

Several times a day, I get to feel like
St. Peter and various members of the McMurdo
population have to come before me to be
judged. No, I don't have a God complex.
One of the tasks of my job is coordinating
Bag Drags. Bag Drags occur the night before
a flight and everyone who is on a flight has
to "drag" their bags up the hill to Building
140 (where I work) to have all of their gear
they are taking with them weighed. These
flights can be going north to Christchurch or
maybe to South Pole or some very distant field
camp with an odd name like Taylor Dome or
Grosvenor Plateau. One by one, these
passengers then have to have their checked
bags weighed (no more than 75 pounds for
each person). Some folks are drastically
over the 75 pound limit and must either find
a friend to take the excess or start dumping.
Then they get to hop onto the scale themselves
with their hand-carry, Extreme Cold Weather (ECW)
gear and their dignity. Some are afraid to
look at the scale when they hop on, especially
after an extended period of eating McMurdo's
Galley food. What they forget is that they
are wearing roughly 30 or so pounds of
clothing on their body, so sometimes I tell
them of that...sometimes I don't. Depends what
kind of mood I'm in. After the weigh-in, they
are reminded what time their transport leaves
the next day and they're sent on their way.
This time of year, there aren't more than 50
passengers on any one flight. Later this year,
upwards of 140 people will be getting onto planes
heading to Christchurch and things will get
interesting. What I found out recently though is
that not all are truly created equal when it comes
to the Bag Drag process. DV's (Distinguished
Visitors) don't have to Bag Drag. We put in a
standard weight for them and they skip the process.
I wonder if St. Peter has the same kind of set-up?


Jude said...

Why should DVs be given preferential treatment? Seems downright un-American.

Tom said...

I agree, but that's the way it works. Rather a caste system of sorts I suppose. I actually like the bag drag process (as a participant). It gives a feeling of closure to a long season.