Text by Laurence Gonzales
Occasionally, I Iike to visit some place where the objective hazards appear so great that I can remind myself what paying attention really means. The way we behave in environments full of risk is pretty different from how we act in the safety of our world at home. For example, I once went out to an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and found what looked like the most hazardous environment I’d ever seen.
I traveled by boat from Galveston, Texas, leaving in the middle of the night and arriving at the base of the rig in the morning for the change of crew. A crane lowered something to us that looked like an oversize orange life ring, with rope webbed above it like a tent. I stood on the ring with several crew members, grabbed the rope, and was pulled 20 stories into the air and set down in the midst of the whirling, roaring machinery. The ride up there scared me half to death, but the business end of the oil rig was even worse.