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The weirdest thing happened in the Oil Spill Volunteer Training session tonight.

A guy showed up dragging a luggage carrier and announced he worked for BP ten years ago but retired and had the solution to the oil spill. The class instructor laughed and said well fix it then (or something like that). The guy said he was serious and would like a few moments of the class time if possible. Our instructor seemed surprised, but the class hadn't technically started yet, so he let the guy come up to the front to speak.

The guy started unloading things out of his bag - a cookie sheet, a plastic cup, a plastic container with clear beads, a plastic bottle with red liquid and a label I couldn't read, and an unlabeled plastic cylinder with clear liquid.

At this point I thought our instructor needed to step in and say "I'm sorry sir. I do not know you nor do I know the content of your containers. This demonstration has not been approved by BP or the college. I can't let you continue." He did not. The guy proceeded to talk about imbiber pills and how they expand to 75% their size and absorb hydrocarbons. While talking, he poured the pills into the plastic cup then poured the red liquid into the cup then set it to the side. Next he poured the red liquid into the clear liquid and pulled out what looked like first aid pads from his suitcase. He said "these pads are just filled with the same pills" and told us to watch how quickly they removed the red from the clear liquid when he added them to the solution. After that he went back to the plastic cup and turned it upside down to show it had completely absorbed the red oily liquid and turned into a solid. Then he pulled out more padded items of various sizes and shapes from his suitcase and explained how they could be used.

When he first started mixing items together our instructor looked surprised, made a comment that we all ought to be wearing protective masks or whatnot and then said something about potential explosions; he kind of laughed the whole thing off while still looking uneasy. I really was afraid!! What if it was dangerous chemicals. We didn't know. I started wondering if I should say something (since I worked for the college, was it my responsibility - I was quite sure the college wouldn't approve of this), but it wasn't a college class and the instructor was supposed to be telling us how to be safety conscious so he should be trained about what's safe/not safe. I kept looking at Monkeys to see if he seemed nervous. No one else in the room was saying anything, so I just held my breath when he did some of the demos and internally condemned myself for not speaking up and wished I had the gas mask Matt gave me for my birthday.

Anyway, it did absorb the red stuff (which he said was oil), and he passed out his business card. He said he's been selling this stuff for several years now, and he was going county to county trying to reach someone who could get him in touch with someone related to the spill to demo for them. Someone in the class gave him the phone number to our local congressman, and he took that information down. He also asked our instructor three times to pass his card on to a BP representative. (Our instructor doesn't work for BP, he works for the contractor BP hired to run the volunteer training classes.)

I guess everything is okay. Nothing exploded. It's been four hours, and I feel normal - no headaches no bleeding from the eyes. But honestly - we had no idea who this guy was and what was in those containers!!!! That is crazy, darn it!


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
May. 16th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
You are right! He was a mad scientist! All this time, my whole life just about, I thought I wanted to meet or even marry a mad scientist - but now I realize that I don't even want to be in the same room as one. They are scary and dangerous not exciting and cool. :(
(Deleted comment)
May. 16th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
What does she do again? I thought it had to do with computers. (I know it was something I didn't understand and couldn't do!)
(Deleted comment)
May. 17th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)
Ah - I remembered the IT part, but not for whom. I bet she is getting a lot of stupid emails right now, poor thing.
May. 16th, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
Did he look anything like this guy?
May. 16th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
LOL - he would have probably scared me more. I might have actually gotten the courage to flee or speak up if he'd pulled out some shamwows (sp). Although, I bet the shamwows could soak up a lot that oil, too!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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