By a Thread

I had to fill up the tank today.  Going to the gas station is starting to feel like going for my annual gyn visit, only I have to go more often and it’s less fun.  I put it off for as long as I can, and considering I drive an SUV, going 10 days without a fill-up is darn good.  For whatever reason, my 6 year old Santa Fe gets better mileage now than it did when it was new.  (I should say “he”; his name is Max.  Yes, my family is weird; we name our cars, but we spend so much time with them, they’re practically members of the family themselves.)

My last fill-up was in NJ when I picked the boys up from visitation.  It was $3.83 and at the time, I thought I was hemorrhaging.  Today it was $4.06, and that’s not the worst of it.  John paid $4.17 two days ago because his tank was dry and it was either buy or push.  Our usual local station wanted $4.09.  (I passed them by.  I’m one of those idiotic people who’ll burn two gallons of gas trying to save $.50 on the total bill.) 

I’m hearing that it’s going to go up again because of a “drop in supply” that was reported today.  That’s not all that’s going to drop soon.  Before long it’ll be the consumers who can’t carry this burden any longer.  School districts, already overtaxed by the cost of special education (we’re living that dream) will have to cut back dramatically when the cost of running school buses goes up even more.  Diesel was $5.19 when I passed one station.  Before long, school buses will be a thing of the past; we’ll either have to hire out for the service or forgo school lunches. 

Does anyone think the Bush administration doesn’t realize that it costs more gas to turn corn into ethanol than the ethanol produces?  Also, producing ethanol takes away from the corn supply, which is why the price of grain-based products is skyrocketing.  On the other hand, I bet those farmers (and their lobbyists) are pretty darn happy.  Please God, tell me the government doesn’t subsidize them anymore.  If Willie Nelson tries to throw another Farm-Aid, I hope someone beats him senseless with his braid. 

The price of gas is seeping into the price of everything else.  I hold my breath every time I go to the supermarket.  This country has an obesity problem, but before too long, none of us will be able to afford healthy food anymore.  We’ll all be living on PB&J on crackers.  I can only pray that with the new administration, some of this burden eases.  Industry can only dip into the pockets of consumers to subsidize the added fuel costs so far before the consumers either fall apart or start fighting this prologed rape of our livelihoods. 

I wish we knew how to fight this.  Perhaps I’m still idealistic enough at 41 to believe there’s something we can do, but I’m afraid that Bush’s lasting legacy will be the annihilation of the middle class.  Not that I give a rat’s butt about his legacy; he’s already proven himself to be the worst president in history.  It’s just that to feel like there’s nothing we can do leaves me feeling utterly weak and helpless.  How do the bloggers of the world unite in saying, “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!” 

It cost me $52 to fill up my tank today.  Discretionary spending?  Disposable income?  What’s that?  From now on, it’s just the staples.  I’ll send all my mail by the internet and recycle everything down to the toilet paper.  (The folks at McDonalds need wonder no longer why I’m taking all those extra napkins.)  Netflix?  Gone.  Soda?  Why both when water is free?  Restaurants?  Don’t make me laugh.  I haven’t bought yarn in 3 months, and I won’t be buying any until my 10-year reserve is used up.  Matter of fact, when I run out of yarn, here kitty kitty.