Monday, March 24, 2008

Devil's Roux

It would really make me happy in a particular sort of way to find out that Arabic had 200 different words for dust, as the Eskimos of lore supposedly had for snow. Sadly, they really have no more than we do, which is a shame. Because there really is a great diversity in the types of dust to be found around here. In the last week or so, I've become well-acquainted with an especially pernicious type. I'll get back to that. So in my shop, on of my duties is fueling up our generator at the end of every shift. I walk outside our little compound to the fuel point to fetch a jerrycan of diesel and carry it back to the "jenny". I then carefully set the jerrycan as far as I can within the triple-stack of concertina wire that surrounds the jenny and the systems it runs, walk around through the checkpoint to enter the secured area, carefully reach into the C-wire to pull out the jerrycan and proceed to top off the jenny's fuel tank. This is where the dust comes in, because when I'm done, I find it all over my hands and pants. See, when a jerrycan sits outside here, it collects dust in short order, like everything else. The first fine layer of dust then acts as a wick to draw oil out of the cap on the can. This oil then causes the can to accumulate that much more dust, until the whole thing is coated in a layer of a pasty oil-dust mixture, a sort of diabolical roux. And just try carrying a five-gallon can in one hand without it making any contact with your leg as you walk. It don't work.


elephantschild said...

So that's the slang for generator, eh?

::thunk:: (falls off chair, laughing hysterically)

Shane said...

I think it's totally awesome that you can casually mention roux as if everyone already knows what it is. Also, I would have expected you, the linguist, to reject the Eskimo snow claim a little more forcefully. It's really nothing more than a myth, cited as evidence of Whorf's crappy hypothesis about one's language making a huge difference in how one thinks.

More reading here.

We're doing the same thing where we are, except that it's actually snow and not dust. And you know, I get to go home at the end of my shift, and although I hear gunfire and explosions almost every day, it's all training at the nearby gunnery range. Take care out of there man.