Monday, July 7, 2008

The Exploding Can


When I had a flat tire a few weeks ago I discovered a wonderful product called Fix-a-flat. The stuff is amazing! I decided to get a spare can to keep in my trunk ('just in case') and prided myself on my 'be prepared' attitude. But after reading the precautions on the can, realized it probably needed a more temperature 'safe' environment and had added it to the unorganized junk in my tool 'box' (a pretty canvas basket) and soon forgot all about it.

The other day, as I put together my new bed (yay new bed!), I pulled the tool canvas (where the can was innocently hiding) and placed it in the middle of my bedroom for easy access. While cleaning up my room, I casually tossed a hammer in there and walked out of the room. I had only taken a few steps outside my door when I heard a "ksshhhhh" noise and thought to myself, self, that sounds kind of weird - so I stepped back in the room to find a stream of white foam spraying out of the tool box thingy. I paused in a "what the heck is that?" stupor just for a moment, but quickly came to my senses and grabbed the can and ran to the front door of my apt, threw open the door and set it down just outside. (Now what? ) I stood and watched it continue to "KSSSHHHH" for another moment or two - thinking it would stop any moment. (Apparently those cans hold quite a bit...though) But it just kept spraying... ...and spraying... So much, that in a matter of seconds, there was this huge (very foul-smelling) foam puddle. I looked left and right wondering which staircase I should attempt to run it down. I live on the second floor of a three-story building and it's not wonderfully easy to take something 'outside' (since there is pavement and stairs and parking lots involved) Of course if I'd known there'd be this much fluid I probably would have tried that anyway, but at this point it seemed like I'd just be spreading the mess? I needed a way to contain, I grabbed the closest thing to a trash bag I could find - a Target bag. I put the stinky, foamy can in the Target bag and tied it - but it just kept going! ...and the bag started to inflate ...and I realized this was not a very good plan. I ran back inside to look for a towel or something to mop up the putrid mess; but as I surveyed the neatly folded towels in my linen closet I decided I didn't really want to ruin any of them. Pacing back and forth between the doorway and the living room (with my now incredibly stinky hands - in fact I'm not really sure "stinky" comes close to describing it) I thought frantically of someway to make it stop; but nothing came to mind. So I ran back out to the porch to check it's progress just as my neighbors from across the way came walking up the stairs from the pool (looking from me to the inflating Target bag -like 'what the.. ?') Just then the bag exploded... all over me, my door, the staircase and the hallway. And I screamed (more out of surprise than anything else)- and they laughed at me (of course) uh... really hard. I can only think of a few other times in my life when I've been this embarressed.

The can did eventually stop spraying but by then the puddle was so large it had oozed down the stairs - My neighbor just under me came out to survey the mess. He was NOT as easy-going about it. In fact he was furious. He asked if I was spraying gasoline in the hallway (oh yes, I just love to spray highly flamible substances in tight living quarters). I assured him it was just a tire fixing solution (which come to think of it is probably equally flammible?). The smell was nausiating. I apologized profusely. He kept saying how upset his wife would be if she were home and how it was a good thing she wasn't... (I could feel the defiance beginning to overwhelm me). I should probably do something nice to make up for it.

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