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. 

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2 thoughts on “By a Thread

  1. Maybe this is a wake – up call for all you SUV drivers! We need a balance of energy to solve the crisis, not the fun game of finger pointing at farmers for your own problem. Also, last time I checked, not all farmers were growing corn. It’s a pretty diversified field, so let’s hope Willie & Co. keep up the great work of helping ALL farmers!

  2. Yes, we are holding a Farm Aid concert this year, as we have since the height of the farm crisis in 1985 when family farmers were being kicked off their land in order to make room for the industrialization of agriculture, which gave us factory farms that compromise animals, our air, our water supply, our health. The money that Farm Aid raises goes to organizations that fight for fair policies for family farmers (not corporations); it goes to technical assistance programs that help farmers grow more sustainably; it goes to programs that help farmers direct market their products, so that we all have access to good food; it goes to programs that teach kids the value of food grown locally and by a farmer who cares about the quality of the food, the environment it is grown in, and our health. Farm Aid’s mission is to keep family farmers on the land. We do that because we love family farmers and think that they are the best source for food that is grown with care; they are stewards of our land. We also do it so that all the eaters out there have access to good food. It’s not about making rich farmers any richer. It’s about guaranteeing a future of good food.
    Incidentally, many corn farmers are doing pretty well; for the first time in a long time they’re actually earning a fair price for their product. But that doesn’t mean that all farmers are doing so well. Farming is a very difficult occupation and farmers are at the mercy of weather; many are suffering right now in nine states across the midwest due to horrible floods and tornadoes.

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