I'm sure most people have thought at least in passing, "What would that be like??"
Well I've tried NOT to.
Because my husband is an underground miner.
He's a very safe worker. Also because he has always (till now) worked in WA, where mining regs are as tight as they can be, I've never really worried about him too much while he's at work.
There's always a lot of fuss made in Australia over a mining death -- the truth is that in reality, mining deaths in Australia are very low. We have stringent safety regs, regular mine inspections, and numerous safeguards in place. Many of those deaths are entirely preventable, and often are the victims' own fault.
We keep quiet about that.
No widow wants to hear that her husband did something stupid that got him killed.
I don't know what conditions are like in Chile. I suspect that the miners over there don't have it as good as they do here.
And in the Philippines, where my man works now, it's insane. Conditions there would make any Aussie Mines Inspectors' hair stand on end.
The other day, Fabio came across a nun and a bunch of schoolgirls on an unauthorised tour in his mine, many wearing THONGS (not what you think, if you're American) and none with any protective clothing. He was gob-smacked. He also had to shut down his operations immediately, so that none of them were at risk.
So I worry about him a little more now. Not because HE isn't aware of the safety concerns -- but because so many of the people around him have no idea why this crazy Australian keeps making stupid rules that change the way they operate. They don't get that he's trying to keep them alive, as well as himself, as well as do his job in the best way possible.
He lives in a different world. Or actually, in two worlds. There is the world down the hole, a world of darkness so complete that it's like a blanket pressing on your eyeballs, where rules MUST be followed and there is no room for poor judgement or inattention -- and then there is the world on the surface.
Just think about that for a second. On the surface. That's us, folks. All of us who spend our days in the daylight, in fresh (ish) air, who walk or drive or cycle around, who can look out of the window at any point and see the world.
I know a lot of people in Australia think that miners are paid too much. But I also know that most of those people couldn't be paid enough to do what my husband does, every day. To me, and to the company he works for, he's worth every cent.