tonight, driving home from dinner, we saw two huge flashes of blue in the sky. lightning? we thought. no, clear starry skies above. and then we knew: explosions. the refinery. as we approached town we could see them, two large flares, tiny from a distance like the tips of matches, but in reality, fires larger than a house. i remembered my friends pieter and gunther describing their perilous work in the refineries, and how one false move could mean death:
"...After five minutes of trying not to think about where the bus is going, everybody piles out of the bus into the changeroom where everybody puts on orange jumpsuits and chemical resistant suits... it takes at least 20 minutes to get ready. You have to remember to pee first because......there are no breaks for five hours. Yes I have thought about wearing depends... In the training orientation we basically watched "1000 ways to die in a refinery.... so yea I am scared of every move I make. Yes I have made mistakes but so have the people that have many years of experience and have yelled at me for making mistakes that could kill me and everybody around me..... I have gained a new appreciation for life. I wish I could take pictures but it would get me fired instantly. I need to survive at least a week before I get fired. It is completely unacceptable to have cell phones, cameras, Ipods or any gadgets that could distract you from your task at hand. I am glad I don't have any kids that wouldn't have a father if I pushed the wrong button or sniffed the wrong fumes..." from gunther's myspace page
i hope nobody got hurt.