The concept of mobility has ever growing significance to me. My first serious introduction to the idea calls images of my father yelling at a bunch of teenagers to move around the soccer field, create opportunities, and support their teammates. “MOBILITY!!!”, he would yell, “Mobility is key!” If life is a game on a pitch, I want the ball. I’m here to play.

Move 1.1 and 1.2: Laila goes to ASU; Laila’s parents go to HOA

About two years later, the concept really took hold, as I graduated high school and moved a few states away to college. Within that same year, my folks also moved, proving semi traumatic for me. Home is the house I grew up in. For the next several years, I would come to north Texas to visit my family, drive to my old neighborhood, park my car in front of my old house, and run around, as I did growing up. It’s a creepy ritual that I had to do, just to gain my bearings in this crazy world. Even creeper, my sister and I would periodically send each other photo’s of the house as we drove by, which we called a “drive by”. Other things I did to grasp onto my upbringing include: changing all my ringtones to obnoxious country songs about Texas, wearing cowboy boots, sporting other Texas paraphernalia.

Move 2: A “Crude” Awakening (as in crude oil)

After graduating college, I took this job. It moved me from the desert in Phoenix AZ to the bayou in Houma LA. My family and I packed up my apartment, a process which was both traumatic and laborious. I came to the brutal realization that I have hoarding tendencies. “Laila, there is no reason a grown person should have this much Play-Dough…”, said my mother. Together, we narrowed down my items to a small truckful. I tearfully said goodbye to another place I grew up in, and another set of family I grew to love. I try to hold on to those memories and that place by visiting periodically, and when I do visit, I buy Arizona State gear. I wear this gear often. I listen to obnoxious country songs about Arizona.

Move 3: An Anxious Place

Though I tried to be a minimalist and purge myself of useless possessions, I have since replenished my stock of useless sh!t, and find myself, yet again, moving. This time across the world.I am currently back in north Texas, at my parents house. Today, I went through some things I kept here. To get in the spirit of purging, I usually throw on a hat or costume piece from my collection. Luckily, I keep plenty of hats at various location for when the occasion arises:


I threw out a lot, and tried to make room for the new old things that will be stored here. I came across some papers with brain storming exercises I did with my mom. I had written my career objectives, cover letters, several pages of essays explaining why I, as a college senior, was qualified to take on a particular job. Two years out of college, if I had to write a similar statement, it would go something like this: Please understand that I do not have a clue what I am talking about at this point in time. I will work hard and learn your business. What I lack in skill, I make up in fun!!. Here is a list of what I wanted in a job:


I decided to keep/hoard
these papers, as I know I’ll come across them the next time I am cleaning out the room… During
another transitional move.

Mobility…. I am running around the pitch; it’s creating opportunites for me.

Mobility!   I am pivoting and thinking quickly. I am finding team mates all around this land.

I am scared to  clean out my room in Houma… who knows what sort of things I have hoarded over this last year.

Africa! And Other Places

Last week, we learned about geology and open hole log interpretation. More interesting than the subject matter was our instructor for this segment. He is a Nigerian man resembling Don Cheadle. Don has worked in Nigeria, Iran, Pakistan, Oman and probably other places he has yet to mention. Don occasionally drops on the floor spontaneously in the middle of lecturing and does a few push ups.

During the class, Don looked at me and said, “You will not go to Oman, you will go to Egypt! And they will make you home country. Whateberger will look for any way to save money on you! HAH-HAAA”

Don finished ever concept by nodding to us and saying “Okee Dokee??” or “Do you know what I am talkin about?”


“Why don’t you work in Nigeria? You will love it. AFRICA!! HAH-HAAA you will love it.”

“It is easy to kill a Nigerian in Iran. The Nigerian government will say, ‘one Nigerian is dead. Who cares!’ If one American dies in Iran, the government is flying jets over there and starting wars. It is not easy to kill an American in Iran.”

“AFRICA!!! In America, you can not beat people. In Africa, a man and another man can grab you by your legs and arms, and a third man can beat you. The police will drive by and not say anything. They may stop and say, ‘why are you beating him?’ you will say ‘He’s a bad boy!!’ Police will say ‘Oh, he is a bad boy?’ and then help you beat him.”

Don is also an avid proponent of the “break”. We take breaks every 30-40 minutes. Don will explain, “A pee break is 5 minutes. Poo break is 20 minimum. It take time to get that thing out. Especially if you don’t drink enough water. HAH- HAAA!”

On Friday, I got a call from my boss’s boss. It went something like this- “Oman can’t take you. Now its between Qatar and Kuwait. You pick. If you say no, you’re still not staying in Houma.” Fearing the prospect of moving to a cold location, I went with Qatar. Don was somewhat right….

Respecting Your Age

Sneaky SnakeI have a cousin 17 years my senior (not my oldest cousin). This post is about an important lesson he taught me: respecting your age.

We bond over our common passions of eating food in mass quantities, examining goals and dreams, advising me on all future life choices, and detailed powwowings about all of life’s strange adventures. On this last trip to Egypt, we walked around a mall talking about places to travel.

Me: Do you like camping and outdoorsy activities?

Cousin: Sure, as long as I can go home and take a shower and use the restroom.

Me: ugh… I can’t take you anywhere then!

 Cousin: Listen, a snake can bite me, but not up the @$$.

Me: Uncontrollable laughter

Cousin: I don’t feel old, but I have to respect my age. I’m not going to crap in the woods and look for tree leaves to wipe my @$$ with. I am just not going to do that anymore. We can do whatever during the daytime, but I will go home to take a shower at the end of the day and use the bathroom……. You want to fight aliens? I’ll fight aliens all day, but at night, we go home to use the bathroom. Then we can go fight aliens the next day!

All day

I mean, what would you tell my kids? They will ask “how did daddy die?” And you will have to say, “he was squatting, helpless, weak, and trying to take a sh!t, then a snake bit him in the @$$”. After all I’ve been through, I’m not going to go out like that.

I'm too old for this

The Unchanging

I apologize for the graphic nature of some of the following content.

While reflecting on my first year or so of living as “oil field trash”, I often fear the transformation will soon leave me unrecognizable to those who were once very close to me. Am I an oilfield rat? Have I become a little corporate monster, obsessed with my job and loyal to my company? Am I a swamp person?

Many clues point to YES, I am all of those things, and worse. I refer to locations as up or down the Bayou. I feel awkward in places where the abrasive behavior and bawdy humor of oilfield is no longer acceptable. I am loyal to my job. Swamp person…?

Albeit some minor behavioral changes, I can confidently declare some Unchanging traits.

1. I have become accustom to the sometimes chamber-pot style accommodations on rigs. I am have no objections to using the restroom while simultaneously holding a hand on the door to compensate for the lockless lack in security. I can even explicitly speak about what goes on behind those closed crapper doors, usually humorously. However, I will NEVER freely be able to *use* a public bathroom whilst another person could be lurking behind the next stall door. This uneasiness extends to such acts as desperately running into a W.C, only to turn around and run back out if confronted by a stranger, comrade, or family member.

2. I still buy $5 DVD’s when the opportunity presents itself. I will always enjoy watching the same hilarious TV shows on DVD no matter how many hundreds of times I’ve seen them before. Who said optical media is dead?

3.I will always take photos of funny bathroom signs and graffiti. I will usually try to post them.

Bathroom signsThere are no other unchanging traits, just those three things. Everything else is subject to change.

A Jumble

Laila is still waiting on official paperwork regarding relocating to Oman, aka “oh-man too soon!”. She is a calm bundle of ambiguous feelings. In the meantime, she is in Oklahoma cross training into open hole services.


Riddle Me This!!!

Typically, training is a fun time to be away from your field duties without being away from Whateberger entirely. This time around, it feels like a distraction away from dealing with moving. I feel alone, away from my family and friends I so badly want to spend time with before being shipped off across the ocean. The distraction is somewhat effective. You dedicated blog followers may remember about a year and a half ago when I was in Oklahoma for initial training and had a friendly rivalry with the open hole class. After sometime, we are all the same…. just Whataberger engineers with all the same skills. I am enjoying my time meeting new co workers from across the globe and learning more about the jobs I could be doing in the future.

Edwin, the Canadian compadre is also in this course. We spend a good deal of our time reminiscing about our initial training and how much we miss SoccerDad and friends. Rocky and Bullwinkle

Rocky and Bullwinkle, together again

Luckily, Albert is still with me in Houma….for now. This is him all dressed up for a Mardi Gras Promenade. These are the memories I will be missing out on when I make the move overseas…Mardi Gras

 In the brief gaps between absorbing new wireline knowledge, the following questions consume my little mind…. I invite you all into the small, not so cavernous space inside my curly topped head…

* Do my relocation benefits include moving my pet overseas? If so, are pets allowed to stay on a campsite? If the answers are yes, Jerome will love the desert.

* Can Whateberger move my bicycle overseas? I can ride it across the camp from my room to the shop.

* Will I be an exotic American who speaks the tribal language of English?

*When I get back to Houma, I hope I can make it to this concert in Lafayette to round out my childhood dreams.

* If I have one week before I have to leave, could I make a trip out west to visit people…?