Sunday, September 29, 2013

Embossed Carbuncle

I hate when hotels book me and my field partner(s) into adjacent rooms. There is a good reason we're getting separate rooms, thank you: we just spent all day together and we would like a wee bit of separation for a few hours so we can do it all over again tomorrow - and the next day, and the next - without coming to despise one another in very short order. As for the adjacent rooms thing, well, I'd like to spare this individual even the dulcet tones of my personal activities/functions (and vice versa) in the off-hours.

* * *
1:08am: Awakened by the echoing thunder of urination in the hotel echo chamber-slash-bathroom next door. 
1:23am: Wakeful state maintained by sounds of tossing and turning. Field partner appears to have insomnia.
1:25am: Also gas.
4:40am: Thank gawd, I think she's asleep again. Just in time for us to get up and go back to work.

* * *
I just don't get it. It's almost as if the average hotel employee has never done field work before or something.


If you have the sort of livelihood that doesn't include field work you might not be aware that there is a certain amount of insult in suggesting that someone has never done field work - amongst folks who do or have done it, anyway. What kind of insult? Well, it's sortof like Shakespearean slander: tough to put a finger on exactly. It hints at a dearth of common sense; implies a modicum of insulation from reality; excludes the target from an esoteric clique of which you, naturally, are an elite member; and smacks of an inability to comprehend the untamed majesty that is a field person. So rude, eh?

I also make this snap judgement about people who don't seem to cope well with children. Here, in a nutshell, is what field work is about: you get together a shit-ton of gear and snacks, stuff it all in an enormous vehicle, and pray for the best. There's also a ton of paperwork, safety gear, and poop schedule management, plus you're tired, grumpy and drinking a lot of coffee. Sound familiar? That's because it's exactly the same as having children. Here's a free tip: Never mind paying down your mortgage or whatever the hell it is you think is going to make you "ready" to exert your reproductive potential. If you have done field work, you are as ready as you'll ever be.

Bonus Tip: Serve or consume the exact same meals at the exact same times every day. Never be surprised by an ill-timed BM again.  

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