How to Leave at Winfly

May 7, 2010 at 9:47 pm (Preparation)

Temp: -10 C / +14 F
WC: -19C / -2 F
Winds: 13 kts / 15 mph
Pole: -52 C / -62 F
Unseasonably warm this winter, so far, so you don’t have to feel sorry for me…yet.

The Donut of Misery tells me I have now completed 57% of my time on Ice. Not that anyone is counting. The annual (or, so I’m told) rumor mill about redeployment, Winfly and Mainbody dates has already been active, and we’re being told that The People are considering moving Winfly (the end-of-winter, first-in flights) up from the end of August to about August 13th, and bringing in six to nine flights, up from the usual three. No word on whether these extra planes will bring us mail or freshies, or anything we actually need and want. Mainbody (the summertime folks) would then be in full swing by early — rather than late — September.

This news, untrue though it may be, brings two very visceral reactions to the people of MacTown:

#1: “Great. All those orange-skinned, white-toothed, skinny bitches will be coming in, spreading their germs and eating our fresh food.”


#2: “Thank Christ. Maybe I can get out of here early.”

For most of us on station, our contracts have us here until mid-October, time enough for the Summer folks to fly in and get trained to take over from us slightly opaque zombies that will greet them upon arrival. There are a few folks that already have their Summer contracts and, due to The Rules, will have to leave at Winfly in order to have at least 60 days off Ice before returning. This, I’m told, helps to avoid a deadly claw hammer attack.

Isolation, after all, does strange things to people. Due to a lack of social and physical outlets, day-to-day life with one’s fellow castaways can be like tiptoeing through a sociopathic minefield: You never know who might snap, and for what reasons. In a well-publicized case in October 1996, a cook at Antarctica’s McMurdo station inexplicably turned on several of his coworkers, attacking one man with the claw end of a hammer. FBI agents had to fly in from New Zealand to arrest him.

Happily, I was told early on what I needed to do if, at the end of Winter, I was ready to get the eff out of dodge and couldn’t wait until October…

Every year, one lonely doctor commits to spending his or her Winter here with the rest of us weirdos. This year, we have two. And, for good reason. The story goes that last year’s doc came in right at the end of summer, and people were already thinking this would be a bad season for getting sick. He was doling out meds, regardless of whether they were needed, and, when his medicine-doling privileges were taken away, one of his patients had to go through some fairly intense withdrawals as the doc had helped him to form quite a habit.

However, this was the thing that got him on the top of the First Flight Out list:

That’s right, folks…all you have to do to make sure you get an early release on the ole contract is whip up some nonsensical plans to build a spaceship and steal a bunch of supplies from Crary Lab. Voila! You’re out, and they replace you with two people so that, just in case one of them catches your crazy, there’s a handy backup.

Since spaceship has already been taken, when it’s time for me to go, I’m going to plant a vegetable garden. Maybe do some naked, lunar dancing, complete with coyote-style howling…that should do the trick.

If not, there’s always the claw hammer.



  1. Gene Mashburn said,

    Where’s your lack of imagination? Have you never heard of a fart burning contest? Someone’s surely has a cigarette lighter down there. No, wait. If you don’t have any vegetables that may be impossible.

  2. Gus Shaver said,

    You can always tell them you’re getting plenty of sunshine from your computer!

  3. Chip said,

    The line between science and science-crazy is the fact that he had to remind himself that F=ma right in the center of the page.

  4. Alayna said,


    IF I come back at Winfly, you can count on me to be a pale-skinned skinny bitch who BRINGS you freshies as opposed to chowing on them.

    Doc Chris was totes kookie, but so was Pee Samples and they hired him full time.

    Naked lunar dancing will only prompt participation.

    I’d stick with the hammer.

  5. Happy said,

    Here’s a random suggestion: Just tell everyone you’re going to leave whether they like it or not. Refuse to discuss how or why – only that you’re leaving. No fancy diagrams like the one above – you don’t want to leave a legacy. Sign up for a summer gig if you have to (to get the 60 off-ice) – then not show up. Not the most ethical thing, but one has to do what they have to do.

    Point is you can get off the ice at WinFly without too much fuss if you really want to.

    I wonder if last season’s doc got his bonus …

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