It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … no, it was just the worst of times
No glossing things over: this was a horrible week that I’d like to expunge from memory. If only that were possible. I mentioned in the last entry that the upcoming week (this week) at my main job was likely to be difficult but tolerable. That was one prediction that really missed the mark. Each of the four days was an utter nightmare. I had to work without meaningful breaks each day and still stay over an hour late.Every time I though the situation was under control something new would crop up. Things got so overwhelming that I called management and asked if I could get some additional help, something I really don’t like doing. Naturally enough no one else was available. Each day was exhausting, and the only bit of solace I have is that the next cycle really, actually, honestly should be much easier.
Still, things would have been semi-tolerable if it weren’t for Monday evening at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. I was scheduled to work 4:30 to 10, and because of absences I had to fill in on parking lot/loading duties. As such I was tasked with loading customer vehicles, keeping reign on shopping carts, emptying the outside trash cans, and using a leaf blower to clean off the front apron. Nothing too bad, and all things I’ve done before.
For some reason, however, I found the shift absolutely exhausting, to the point that I had trouble driving home. What made things much worse is that I just couldn’t recover in a timely manner. For at least the next couple of days, even into Thursday to some extent, I was dragging myself around, utterly beat. No idea why this was so. I’ve worked very hard in the past and always have gotten over it quickly. Indeed, my quick recovery time is something in which I take pride. Not this time. By the way, it should go without saying, but going to the gym wasn’t even a remote possibility.
Today’s mystery: The Dyatlov Pass Incident. In January 1959, nine people set off on a ski-hiking expedition to the very remote northern part of the Ural Mountains in Russia. All of them were highly experienced, and by completing this rugged trip they’d become certified to work as guides. Yet on the night of February 1 -2, something (“an unknown compelling force” according to the official report) caused them to rush out of their tent, ripping a side open in order to exit more quickly. They ran into the pitch-black subarctic night, with temperatures around -20F, even though most of them were half-dressed and shoeless. They certainly must have known that doing so was a death sentence, and indeed all nine froze to death.
Over the years there have been many theories about what caused this bizarre flight into death but no actual answers. Among these theories are that the hikers fled an attack by native tribesmen, wolves or bears, or escaped Gulag prisoners; that they thought they were about to be buried by an avalanche; or that the military chased them away from the scene of a secret experiment of some sort. The newest theory is that wind coming off a nearby mountain created very low-frequency sound waves known as infrasound, which according to some experiments can create mental unease in some people. None of these theories is particularly convincing and the true answer may never be known.