For those of you who have no trouble getting gasoline where you live, I am happy for you. Here in New York we are all running on empty, unless we are willing to wait in ridiculously long lines to get gas. The crisis started with Hurricane Sandy and was exacerbated by the freak snowstorm that dumped insult and injury on us while we were down. Tankers couldn’t get into port, so gasoline trucks couldn’t get gas; stations had no power to pump gas even if there was gas, and so on. It was enough to make any rational person go bonkers.
Okay, I must confess – I am a gasoholic. I am in detox right now, shivering me timbers in the limbo world of having a needle on empty. I crave gas like other people may crave spirits or chocolate or shopping. “Drive ‘til I drop” used to be my motto. Now I am walking everywhere, and it is really an eye opener for an addict like I am.
Before all this happened, I never thought anything about knocking back ten gallons. Hey, I was thirsty and gas was freely available. I’d belly up to the pump, have my fill, and then go on my merry way. I liked going wherever I wanted to go, no matter how far away it was. Daytrip to Montauk to sit on the beach? No problem. Drive upstate to see fall foliage? Hey, I’m on my way.
Yes, this is a particularly hazardous gas consumption lifestyle, I know. I didn’t care though. Want a hotdog? Why not drive down to Coney Island to get the real deal? Who cares about gas? Even as the price went up, I suppose I thought of it as a top-shelf mentality. A drinker can either have the cheap stuff or the top brand, right? I felt the same way. Gas at $3.99 a gallon was just a luxury tax of sorts. I wanted the luxury of driving wherever I wanted to go whenever I wanted to get there.
Now, courtesy of this gasoline crisis here in New York, I am a walker, and I see lots of other walkers. I am part of the club that says “I will not sit in a line for gas for four hours.” I refuse to waste my time doing that, so I walk. All the things I may have done by car are now done on foot – grocery store, post office, bank, Starbucks, and more. I am becoming a walking machine and, quite truthfully, I like it. It feels good and, as the air gets colder now, it is invigorating.
I guess I am also getting back to my New York City roots. I used to take a subway or bus wherever I had to go, and then walk the rest of the way. There is great freedom in going somewhere, getting off the train or bus, and not having to worry about where to park. Parking is expensive in New York anyway, almost worse than the price of that elixir of life for my car that is so hard to come by now.
So I have confessed and repented, and now I am not turning back. Oh, wait, I just got a text from my sister – ten minute wait at a gas station on her corner. Have to run. Forget what I said; I am back in the saddle again. Petroleum martini please, stirred not shaken, and heavy on the octane. I am ready to roll.