Photo by Martin Kelly
Its June and its hot; in the mid 90's already. A hand can only travel with so many pairs of white coveralls in his workbag and the laundry from the motel is not back yet. Blue is the wrong color today but, it is what it is.
That asbestos suit thing; nobody does that anymore. Those things are heavy, hot and dangerous. Its dumb movie stuff. Cotton coveralls are perfect but to keep from getting burned all your skin needs to be covered so its necessary to wear long underwear, a turtleneck and a kufiya or something, to cover your neck. As long as you keep your head down your tin hard hat will keep your face from getting burned, but that's easier said than done.
Up close to the well you have to stay drenched with water from monitor stands. Water is the only thing that keeps you from getting cooked. If the well is blowing real hard the updraft will suck all the air around the well up with it and it can actually get cold working under that much water all the time, soaked. Sometimes. Most of the time its just a hot son of a bitch.
Yesterday, Joe Carpenter got so close to this fire the zippers melted on his coveralls. We had to cut him out with scissors when we got back to the motel that night.
This was an oil fire and burning really hot; all spread out, blowing in three directions. There's four of us on this job and the wind is changing directions every four hours; we're moving monitor stands and water lines constantly and have been pulling pieces of rig away from the well all day with an athey hook and heavy winch lines off the back of dozers, working in near boiling mud that often covered your boots. My feet are blistered. I've got one pair of socks left in my bag and I am fixin' to put them on and hope the laundry lady comes thru tonight.
We'll work to dark thirty again tonight but I am already give out. I feel shot at and missed, shit on and hit.
There must be 50 cars parked out on the highway, folks in folding chairs watching like its a damn baseball game. I hope somebody out there has a cold beer for the ride back to town this evening.