Mining is the perfect (or worst) environment for someone with OCD.
My level of particularness (it’s a word go with it) has varied from slightly quirky- toilet paper should come over the top of rolls To borderline nut job- having to brush each side of my hair the equal and exact number of times.
But up here I seem to have company, every day is ingrained in routine, never before have I seen a group of adults so collectively revolt against change, any and all types of change.
The scenes of outcry when the brand of bread was changed would make you think kidneys had been removed. Borderline pandemonium ensued when for one day boiled eggs weren’t available, and do not get me started about the off weeks where chefs have the audacity of serving crumbed NOT BATTERED fish for Friday night dinner. Oh yes Friday night is Fish and Chip night, every Friday and from what I have been told every Friday on every mine site is Fish and Chip night.
Each day resembles the same as the one before and will probably be very similar to the day after, you do start to rely on the routines to get you through the week. I have been guilty of standing in the lunch room with a dull stare due to the fact there is no chicken, I put this half down to OCD and half down to not being a morning person- having the same lunch every day saves me time and voids me of making decisions
So what does a normal day look like?
4:00am – Get Up
I’m one of those people that actually give a crap if I get super fat from sitting on my ass all day so I go to the gym before work (cause aint no one has energy to work out AFTER a 12.5 hour shift)
5:00am – Shower/ Breakfast
Food is a bit hit and miss up here. Some weeks you have absolute stellar chefs and its awesome, other nights… well protein smoothies are popular up here for a reason. Breakfast at least you know it’s the same thing every day.
5:30am – Bus
Sometimes so quiet you can hear a pin drop; no one is the best version of themselves this early in the morning. I try not to fall asleep during this trip, 20mins is not long enough for a proper rest, and I usually jump awake bleery eyed wondering what year it is if I do. For the past 12months I have been listening to Indonesian Lessons, learning a new language on company time- why not!
Pre-work meeting where we are told what that day will bring, where all the dig units are, who’s in trouble for speeding the day before (yeah they monitor that) any information we may need to know, finished off with pre-work stretches. It’s quite the spectacle seeing 30 over weight men try and touch their toes; one ambitious Supervisor got us all to do a sun salutation- a delightful sight
6:15am- The Trucking Begins
Being the ultra-clean freak I am, the first 3 mins usually involves me re-cleaning and disinfecting every surface in the cab, some operators have questionable person hygiene I don’t want to receive any of through a steering wheel. Then its log on and off we go. I have quite the swag to pass my day and keep the brain from turning to mush, books, mags, crosswords, wool – I have taught myself to crochet (sometimes feel like I am an 80 year old woman) and most importantly an IPod, we’re in the middle of nowhere radio reception cannot be guaranteed and you have some odd conversations with yourself when you have to sit in silence for 12 hours.
9:00-10:00am –Morning Smoko
12:00 – 1:30 – Lunchtime
What happens when you sleep in and dont get time to pack your lunch – you have to grab a pre-made pack. Mincey smoosh with ricey smoosh ….
2:00pm – Afternoon Smoko
Nothing really to explain here it’s a break it involves food, stretching and emptying your bladder as much as you can.
4:30pm – Afternoon Pee Break
I drink a tonne of water and I try to keep it monitored but 6 liters over 12 hours with a tiny lady bladder don’t mix too well. I need more than 2 loo breaks a day. Wish I could say this time differs but it doesn’t, 4:30 on the dot every day….
Nothing is sweeter than looking at your Modular (computer screen in the cab of your truck that tells you where to go) and seeing that it’s sending you to a park up. Shift is officially over. Part of our pay is ‘handover allowance’ it’s for the time it takes you to let the person getting onto your truck know anything important – faults/ changes in the pit etc. In reality handover usually involves walking towards them pointing at the truck saying ‘all good, have a good night’ and continuing to walk. To be fair though, it usually is all good.
6:30pm- Bus Home/ Pack Lunch
The bus leaves when we’re all on, cue feverish headcounts, double checking if someone has got on and cursing the other team for not swapping out quick enough. Any delays eats into the few precious hours we have to ourselves each day. Ensuring I have one less thing to worry about in the mornings I always pack my lunch at night, same thing every day. Chicken salad lunch, salad sticks, boiled egg and almonds for snacks. Treat myself to Caesar Salad when it’s up on offer (yeah that’s right I get crazy with the food)
Again hit and miss, only this week we have had an amazing Asian night (wonton soup yo – delish) which was then followed by an evening where my salad was practically liquid and the silverside and bits that were fluoro
9:00pm- Lights Out
Setting your alarm for 4am again and groaning that its only 7hours away – Night!
Day in Day Out……
‘Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel’ – DUSTY SPRINGFIELD