What Living In Dickinson, North Dakota Is Like, Like Being In Prison

In many previous blog posts, I have mentioned that living in Dickinson, North Dakota is like being in prison.  I want to give a recent example.

I have been working at a particular job site outside of Dickinson for a little over one year.  For the first eight months that I was at this job site, there were just a few employees from the company that I work for, and we had our own office trailer.  The employees that had been here before I got here, they had set things up, and they had established the rule that everything was going to be kept clean.

The refrigerator, the microwave, counter tops, floor, and outside portable toilet were all kept clean.  We each cleaned, purchased cleaning supplies, and took out the garbage.  Something that was very important, was that my co-workers had installed some insulation around the outside portable toilet, and inside the portable toilet there was a small electric heater beside the toilet seat.

For several years prior to me arriving at this job site, the few company employees that were here, they had made it through several winters where the temperature got down to -20, -30, -40 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once they even got snowed in, where they couldn’t drive home, and they had to stay here in the office trailer, which was O.K., because they set it up for people to be able to stay overnight if they had to.  When it got really, really cold, the electric heater inside of the portable toilet was left running all the time, which kept it at about 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Five months ago, due to increased work activity at this site, my company personnel got moved to a different location on this site.  We no longer had the use of the office trailer.  Due to many personnel changes, I became the only person on this entire site, who had ever been here through the winter, and knew that workers had been snowed in here before.

When it got to be November this year, where the temperature began to drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, I installed an electric heater inside the portable toilet that we were using, at a height of about two feet above the toilet seat, and two feet to the left of the toilet seat.  I brought my own 3500 Watt portable electric generator, which costs about $500 new, to power the electric heater.  I had to buy a poly containment basin to place the generator in per site regulations regarding fuel and oil spills containment.

Within about one week, it was reported to me, that someone tried to urinate into the electric heater inside of the portable toilet.  Someone used the portable toilet, and right after he exited the portable toilet, two of my co-worker saw that he had urinated all over the back wall and bench seat of the portable toilet.  One of my co-workers thought that he had had an accident, where the zipper got stuck on his overalls.  The other co-worker was certain that he had deliberately tried to urinate into the electric heater.  How could you accidentally urinate two feet up on the walls of the portable toilet?

I explained to my co-workers, not to let anyone vandalize this portable toilet and electric heater.  Though it might not seem that important now, it will be when it gets down to -20, -30, -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The next thing to get abused and misused was my 3500 Watt electric generator.  When I wasn’t around, people began putting garbage in the containment basin that the generator was sitting in.  The generator fuel valve was left on, some other things were done to it, and it wouldn’t start.  When I removed the generator oil tank filler cap, a bunch of fuel came out of the oil tank.

I took my generator home and I spent several hours working on it to get it to run again.  I got it to where it would start on the first pull of the starter cord.  I kept it on my truck, not being able to decide if I could leave it there on the job site without someone messing it up again.  Then, I was notified by my co-workers, that someone had ruined my electric heater that I had installed inside of the portable toilet, to where it wouldn’t work at all now.

I thought to myself, what kind of people, deliberately urinate into an electric heater that is two feet above, and two feet to the left of the toilet seat?  This week it has gotten to below zero degrees Fahrenheit at this job site, and it is only going to keep getting colder.  Why would site personnel try to destroy the only heated toilet anywhere on site that they could use?

Meanwhile, there is a small prefabricated building with no electricity to it, that has a small propane heater.  When the small propane heater is set on low or medium, it keeps the small building at about 60 degrees inside, when it is 20 degrees and windy outside.  A particular co-worker, has been found several times to be setting the propane heater to high, and then complaining about how hot it is inside this building.

Two co-workers have explained to this one co-worker, to stop setting the propane heater to high, because he has caused the small three to five gallon propane tank to run out of propane in a day or two, instead of this propane tank lasting four or five days if the heater was set on low.  We began using larger size propane tanks, but this one co-worker is still being found to be setting the propane heater on high, and then complaining about how hot it is inside of this small building that we use.  We are now completely out of propane, having nothing to heat this small building with now, or in an emergency.

My point is, that I can’t believe how these people in North Dakota are deliberately sabotaging the facilities that we use.  This kind of primitive, ignorant, destructive behavior is like something you would find in a prison amongst criminals.  It’s like these people in Dickinson are so fucking stupid, ignorant, and criminal minded, that they destroy and sabotage the things that they need to use, only making their own personal situation even worse.

As frustrated as I am, I realize that probably about 60% of the North Dakotans who read this will think, “Heh, heh, that is what I would do too.  Pee into the electric heater, and run the propane heater out of propane.  Yeah, that is what I would do.”

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