Oil is one of the last avenues of blue-collar opportunity in this country, one of the few sectors open to working-class men—outside of sport—that still pay well. The oil workers I knew were always trying to redress this imbalance by spending their wages as soon as they got them. They bought powerful cars on finance, expensive clothes, good shoes, strong cocaine. They went to the gym, bench-pressed weights, and covered themselves in tattoos (it seemed a cultural practice somehow related to the job, as miners in South Wales used to gather in chapel to sing). They stayed single longer than most men in the provinces, and even their marriages had a provisional feel, as if they might be dissolved at any moment. They were interesting. The sort of people you’d want at a house party, provided the house wasn’t yours.