Pain in the Gas



I think everyone secretly likes to complain about high gas prices. OK, let me amend that. We like to feel special because while our co-worker paid 3.82, we paid a mere 3.79. Therefore, we are obviously smarter than them, because we got 12 gallons of gas and saved a whole 36 cents over our dumbass colleague. We should really get promoted for our great wisdom.

Truth is, we’re just marginally luckier. Nowadays, we’re all getting screwed. You can buy ass for less than it costs to buy gas right now. And yet, there’s not much most people can do about it right now-I mean, you can trade in your gas-guzzling Hummer for a mid-size sedan, maybe, but most people probably won’t do that. And I already have a smaller car, and even at 12 years old, it still gets in the low-to-mid 20s, I think. Which I will definitely take, considering.

But yes, we love to complain. Myself included. We bond over how much gas is screwing us all over, and oh those greedy oil companies. I try to say well, America’s infrastructure is dependent on cars, not public transport, unless you are lucky enough to live in a big ole city like New York or San Francisco. But yet, I wince every time I pass the Citgo or whatever and see that it’s gone up another 10 cents. Damnit, I think. Stop that! Stop going up!

It’s totally irrational. And that got me to thinking that I’m really one of the lucky ones, because I do have a small car, and I only have myself to support. The cats don’t drive much. It’s a lot easier for me to deal than if I had a husband and two or three kids and needed a bigger car. Gas prices have gone up a little over a dollar or so in the past year, right? But I fill up once a week, on average. A fill-up takes 11-13 gallons, usually, depending on how close to empty I am. So I’m paying $11 to $13 more a week-even as they continue to rise, I doubt it’ll get above $20 anytime soon. God, I hope not. So this is damaging my psyche more than my pocketbook, if I’m going to be honest with myself (one way it can damage my pocketbook is vacation, since I was considering flying somewhere but now feel less and less like dealing with airline “cost-cutting” crap, especially since I already fear flying. Also, I’m trying to figure out possible road trips and keep groaning at the fuel cost calculator results).

I thought about all that, and I continued to read all the articles about how gas prices meant a slight decline this year in Memorial Day highway travel. And I decided to go to my mom’s house anyway. It’s about a four hour trip, and the road drives me nuts, but I decided to go. Because I hadn’t since her since late January or early February. And I missed her, damnit. I already felt like I was going out a little less since the gas prices began soaring. It’s hard to get over the American ideal of “We deserve low gas prices, and if I cant have them then there is no justice,” but damnit, we better start soon. So I decided that even though I’d have to fill up before I left and then top off my tank (it was about a third full, I’d guess) in my hometown before I came back, I decided that I’d rather see my mom. So by golly, I did. And it was great-we had a blast.

She wasn’t expecting me, but was thrilled and kept talking about what a wonderful surprise. We hugged about half a dozen times in the first five minutes after I arrived Friday. I gave her a belated Mother’s Day gift and took her out to dinner. We also took a ton of pics with my digital camera, mostly of the two of us being goofy and her numerous puppies. See above for two examples of the latter. I figured that would be much nicer than a picture of a gas sign you see all the time in news stories these days.

I read an article where a former gas station owner was bemoaning that the younger generation wouldn’t stop getting gas and going places because they think they’re entitled to…something, I forget what, exactly. No, I don’t think that’s quite right. Yes, I agree we need to change our attitude about energy conservation and how much it should or shouldn’t cost. But heck, I’m doing what I can at the moment. When I can afford a hybrid, I will get one, but that’s probably five or six years down the road. But sometimes it’s better to spend the damn gas money and go see your family then stay at home, missing them, but thinking about all that money you saved on gas. When it came down to it, I couldn’t imagine what else I wanted to do other than go see my mom.

I came home last night, because I was missing my kitties and home. And I was greeted by my economic stimulus check. I’m so happy to get it, I think I’ll go celebrate. By getting a tank of gas.

In all seriousness, I hope you and yours had a spiffy holiday weekend, whatever you did. I think I’m about to go watch Charlie Wilson’s War. I also want to see Recount, but I don’t get HBO. I get it on-demand, but I have no idea when or if it’ll show up there. Back in 2000, I was a Republican. Also, my parents had split up a week after Election Day, and I was somewhat distracted. So think it’ll depress me, almost as though I’m seeing it for the first time, but I also believe it will make me more determined than ever to get Obama in the White House, so we at least have a fighting chance of ending the last 8 years of bullshit. As I usually do upon returning to my home state, I (discreetly as possible) flipped off the “Proud Home of President George W. Bush” sign.


1 Comment

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One response to “Pain in the Gas

  1. DorothyZbornak

    I finally got my check too! And you know what I’m spending part of it on? A bike so I can avoid using my car so much. Sometimes you just have to laugh, you know?

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