Remembrances – October, 1999 – Rotterdam

Having just escaped a mind-numbingly boring meeting, I am reminded of the most boring meeting I ever attended. It was a three hour affair in a refinery in Rotterdam and was hosted by a man who loved the sound of his own voice. I’ll never understand why, since it was the most monotonous voice I have ever heard. After the marathon meeting I was told that I had given the impression of boredom. Apparently I had managed this by falling asleep and snoring loudly, but I did receive the gratitude of my colleagues, as this faux pas seemed to end the meeting quite effectively. Personally I don’t think I was asleep. My theory is that Mr Monotony had robbed me of the will to live and I was already in a coma.

Rotterdam itself is a nice enough town, especially those buildings that were not bombed flat 55 years ago, i.e. both of them. However I was not staying in Rotterdam itself, but in a suburb called Spykenisse. The main feature of this town was the 8 refineries that lit up the night sky with their flaming chimneys. I learned a lot about refineries in my six months there, especially their attitude to environmentalism. For example, plant managers love days of low cloud cover as they can then vent their toxic gases into the atmosphere without the local tree-huggers complaining to the environmental agencies. Encouraging, isn’t it?