What I’m Doing

These days blur together. I sleep on the couch (I have a bed, I prefer the couch) in front of my laptop perpetually playing Breaking Bad. Fading in and out of sleep, my neck develops what feels like marbles along the right side of my spine. The days pass. Every other night I don’t sleep at all, but rather spend the hours trying my eyelids with the subtle glow of a computer screen, flickering updates on log curves, foot by foot. The humming of the generator and engine outside remind me how precious true silence can be. Daylight happens. 20150128_075818[1]The job ends during the daylight; we pack up our equipment and at some point, my weary body makes its way back to the couch. Breaking Bad engages, and time goes on.

Every other couch-rig-couch combination is linked by one day, completing the cycle. This is a day begins when my phone buzzes, alarm or phone call. I stay on the couch, rolling into position to check or send emails. I do the paperless paper work for the next rig job from the comfort of my couch. I play some music. I watch TV shows while I hydrate. Sometimes I do laundry, mostly I lounge. I will take myself running in the sunny weather. I follow up with some jump roping and lunges in my apartment. I take a shower and eat. These days are the best. They pass quickly despite my minimalist activity.

The day screeches to a halt when its time to pack up the laptop and take it to the rig. It’s a blur when the day ends and the night begins. My neck is stiff and my thoughts are aloof.

The Feminine Beast

Since taking this job, I’ve been hearing various feedback and comments from friends and relatives along the lines of “Isn’t that hard as a woman?”, or “That’s kinda a man’s field”. I usually field these concerns with a shrug and, “Its a tough job for anyone” or “There are some women in the field.” It’s time to come clean- it IS hard as a women, specifically. And it IS  a man’s field. And since moving to the Middle East, I have to be honest, I feel it everyday.

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It is tricky to articulate the subtleties of a culture. You can not pin point something which is just “in the air”. I’m also reminded that perspective make all the difference. When people collectively think one way- you can not point out something obvious which they just don’t see.

Last week, I went to lunch with a group of co-workers. These are not only gentlemen I work with, they are people I watch the sun rise and set with the majority of the time. These are people I live with, people I depend on. Over the lunchtime banter, one co worker matter of factly stated, “That’s the only time I wish I was a woman. In Whataberger, woman can do whatever they want. Even if they f*ck up, they won’t get fired.” Hearing this from someone I consider an ally in the trenches- I had to speak up.

My opposition to his comment was met with furious denial from all parties at the table. I simply stated, “its difficult to go to work everyday knowing everyone you interact with thinks that about you, merely because you’re a woman”. I immediately wished I hadn’t said anything- because again- they just didn’t get it. No one even saw anything wrong with the frame of mind. They all challenged me to name examples of why they personally treated me badly. How do you explain- its not that you treat me badly- its how you all, collectively think? It is a mentality so entrenched in the culture that you can not even point it out to very level headed, mature and progressive members of the culture.

These last couple weeks- I’m facing the subtleties of sexism here as I’ve had a couple rig jobs go awry. Everyone has mistakes on jobs, and from the very early stages of my training, I can still hear Dave in Elk City telling me, “You’re going to f*ck up. Everyone does. Just know it when it happens and accept it.”  The difference here, is the reaction from my supervisors and managers, they approach me as if I am the only one who f*cks up. I’ve been patronized and my competency questioned over simple things I’ve been doing for the last three plus years.

I wonder, am I seeing it correctly? Or am I just seeing the nature of the beast?

Enlightened Sexism

An Announcement

After years of resisting peer pressure, I have, on my own accord, to join the Instagram world. It was a tough decision, but I believe it is in my best personal interest.

You can (and should) follow me @ ashmawy.wowy

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I now proudly follow the instagramming of Real Madrid and France superstar Karim Benzema, an eclectus parrot, and what appears to be an educational account on the subject of drilling.

This new venue of expression and networking will not detract from the upkeep of rigtales, but perhaps will encourage and remind me to post more often.

In other news, I am working furiously towards my next promotion. It is a doozy.  The next step in my career is achieving grade 11, or GFE. To complete this behemoth, I will pass a series of online exams, technical and functional interviews with my local and geomarket  management teams, complete, present and defend a project.  It’s stressful- and I already have a navy and orange suit picked out for the occasion. (The suit may or may not cost as much as my salary. It’s definitely worth it).

Again, dearest readers, if you like silly photos and nonsensical  #hashtags, feel free to follow my social media journey as I experiment with instagram.
ashmawy.wowy

Rocks in Cans

Having just finished a hitch in the desert, I’m riding shot gun next to Snoopy in his flatbed trailer back to Doha. I ask him to turn on the radio. We sway to the songs and bounce along the road in the dark. Moments like this, I love that this is part of my job.

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It’s dark and it’s windy, stirring the sand into the air. The grains tap the window like rain and create a sandy fog in the air. Snoopy clears the windshield twice. In the middle of an actual desert  storm, it feels like a rainy winter night.

I’m trying to place more emphasis on enjoying the small daily occurrences which can get the better of my nerves if I let them. Everyone communicates in their own way. I like to talk with my hands. At McDonald’s the other day, I placed my order of “a little double cheeseburger and a giant coke”, surly indicating the height of my drink between my hands. The McDonald’s worker promptly filled a normal sized cup with Diet Coke. Realizing that “giant” can sound like “diet” and no one describes their drinks as giant, I had to laugh. Touchè McDonald’s…

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The last job I did, I worked the night shift with a Pakistani engineer. Discussing accents, he so perfectly summarized how some Indians speak…. “It’s as if you put some rocks in a can. And then shake the can”

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