Monday, October 15, 2012

Explosions in the Distance



We were troubleshooting our work at the last pad (someone switched red and black wires) when way off in the distance came a low rumbling explosion. Thunder? No, it was 95 degrees and slightly cloudy. Demolition? Not advisable near Hydrogen Sulfide tanks. It sounded maybe ten miles away but a day later the rumors were confirmed that an oil rig had exploded.

Two Injured in Oil Rig Accident

Two people are injured in an oil rig accident just east of Laredo. It happened in Ranchito, Las Lomas, about 15 miles east of Laredo, on Highway 59. One of the men injured was pierced in the abdomen by a pipe. The other was hit in the back. An AIR Vac helicopter was at the scene ready to transport patients. The two men, however, were taken by ambulance to area hospitals; one to Laredo, the other to Corpus Christi. Sheriffs deputies were on the scene, along with the Webb County Fire Department. We still do now know what caused the accident. 

Laredo is like 180 miles from our job site and I still heard it clearly.
I can speculate that what caused the explosion was an accidental spark near the hydrogen sulfide vent caused it to blow up and send a pipe into a man's belly. This was yet another reminder of the danger I'm faced with.* 
Fortunately the job requires concentration like I haven't summoned since my guitar effects pedal days where I had to memorize 130 components and populate a circuit board and solder it in about 18 minutes or else I wouldn't make any money and I wouldn't eat or pay rent on time and buy some more time to sell a screenplay. If you look back on my writing from that time period you will find no record of my job since there was no choice but focus on the circuit board, memorize the layout and jump on it like a wild hog on a deer corn sundae. I never wrote about that experience because I could not reflect on it and still do it fast enough to make money. I was forced to enter a zen-like trance to do the job...and it was pretty mundane and unsophisticated. That was 2007 and here 5 years later I'm faced with the same choice: write about life or live it. I can't have both because I might end up in a one paragraph story as an unnamed victim of progress who had a pipe pierce his face. I'll have tons to write about then...hahahaha.

How would you like to hit one of these? I'm told Axis meat is good.
So, we passed a Frac Sand truck that had jack-knifed and been crushed on one side. We passed another car that had been crushed in the front. The speed limit is 70 and everyone drives 80 on an undivided one lane highway where cows, Axis, coyotes, deer, hawks, snakes and drug smugglers and hogs and raccoons and illegal immigrants all run wild when there is no light. It's like an obstacle course of corpses and potholes and scurrying animals and border patrol jeeps and other vehicles. I thought Los Angeles traffic was bad but this is horrible. And that's just to get to work (Did I mention 6 hours of dangerous driving each day to get to the job site that is a deadly Hydrogen Sulfide gas field...and return home safely?)

Focus is the key and you can be sure the two guys who got a free ambulance ride to the hospital are being asked to remember exactly what happened before the pipe went through his rib cage. Chances are good they were so focused that they can't remember.  I've written my order of operations manual and have also made about every non-lethal mistake I can make so far. Both my hands were bleeding today and I only have 9 fingernails now. It's time to check out completely.

*Say a prayer for the fallen oil field workers leaving their lovers and children behind to make a buck and keep the wheels of progress turning.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.