This Mainer Watched The Pandemic Unfold From the South Pole
Honestly, the amount of envious I am of this fella is off the charts. But then again, I'm the kind of guy that when something is going on in the world -- be it a 9/11, the Boston Marathon Bombing, or, in this case, a pandemic -- I want to be home with my family trying to help in any way I can.
Mainer Jeff DeRosa tackled things a little differently, though, and in an incredibly epic way. See, according to Channel 8 WMTW, Jeff is a U.S. Antarctic weather observer who had actually spent a winter down at the South Pole before (and WE thought New England had killer winters! Yikes!) and decided back in January of 2020 to do it again.
But if you notice -- he didn't decide to go back down to the South Pole for another winter to avoid the pandemic. He left 2 months before COVID really started to pick up here in the States, it just happened to be coincidence. Jeff told WMTW that since Antarctica is dark for months at a time, it's one of the best places on the planet research astronomy and avoid light pollution and anything else that could interfere with the weather info you're trying to gather through a telescope.
Jeff was there until this past December, which means he literally was out-of-touch with COVID for the entire year, only hearing about it from news reports and during the 12-hours that were allowed for communication back home. Jeff told WMTW that it was pretty interesting, because during a normal time, when you spend the year down on the South Pole, YOU feel like the one that's isolated and on lockdown, but instead it was almost the other way around.
Which, honestly, is WILD to think about when you take a second to process it. Normally you're on this remote area (iceberg?) on the South Pole and it literally is like you're isolated from the rest of the world. But COVID and the pandemic made things so wonky that Jeff's spot on the South Pole went from being the most isolated in the world to, essentially, the most free. (Insert "mind blown emoji or GIF" here.)
Ready for something more wild though? Jeff told WMTW that when the crew left Antarctica, their first stop was in New Zealand to fly back -- AND LIFE IS NORMAL THERE. You can walk around mask-free, you can walk into a full pub and sit down with no covering, acting like we all did just over a year ago.
Know what that tells me? There IS hope to this. It IS possible to beat this. We CAN get back to normal. We just need to do what New Zealand did and all get on the same page and be a united front, kick this thing's booty and get back to THRIVING during a New England summer. WE GOT THIS.