August 19, 2003

There's a gas crisis where I live.

This week VH-1 will be showing a series called "I Love The 70's" attempting to get you all misty and nostalgic for the 70's, even (or especially) if you didn't actually live through them.

Way ahead of you, VH-1. Phoenix already has the "NO GAS" signs and the people pushing their cars to service stations. All we need now is the Son of Sam and a button that says WHIP INFLATION NOW and we will have what I believe to be, from my limited understanding, a reasonable facismilie of the decade you and your legion of smarmy proto-celebrities are trying so hard to make us miss.

Some pipeline from Tucson to Phoenix broke and gas stations have been one by one running out of gas. The ones that are still open create block-long lines and the price is naturally exorbitant. Yet another reason Tucson, boil on the ass of the Copper State, should not be allowed to exist, much less hold the reigns on our gas supply.

If I was a writer of hackneyed editorials for the local paper, I would write something like:

The pumps at Phoenix gas stations were this weekend strung with yellow police tape, as if a murder had been committed. Indeed, in a way, it has: the gas crisis has killed our sense of complacency.

Then I would go on to talk about how this shortage has awoken people to the fragility of our petroleum-based society and how we should all ride scooters powered by lima beans, and eventually, for the stinger, bring it back somehow to the inherent evil of the Bush administration. Man would I make a good hackeneyed editorial writer.

But I'm not, unfortunately for all of us. And plus, nothing here is getting murdered. Just like the blackouts back East, this infrasturctural hiccup is failing to cause the sort of mass hysteria you can just FEEL people on the local news wanting it to. Case in point: last night.

Trevor and I are chillin' and about to go out to Chuck and Alecia's condo to get our Risk: The Game of Global Domination on. Trevor has just gotten off of work, his job being a busboy at a local Italian food place. He has made us a pizza to get six kinds of nasty on while we play Risk. We field a call from Chuck, saying he's not at the condo, he is instead in line outside a gas station, one of the only ones still open in Ahwatukee (our charming suburb.) The game is delayed; the gas crisis, as the hack writer would say, hits home. We rush to our friend's aid.

We find him at a Circle K with cars leaking out of it in two directions. He's about six cars back from the front of the line, and has had to get out and push every time the line moves, because either he's really REALLY out of gas or his truck has overheated. We pray for the first one while heat seeps from the air conditioning vents.

It could be way worse, line-wise. Behind us cars stretch out into the street, through a traffic light. Chuck's been here a while.

We eat pizza. Chuck skateboards barefoot. We listen to the Notorious BIG's greatest hits. Every so often, we have to push while Chuck steers, and when we get to a strangely inclined part of the parking lot and Trevor's inside buying a beverage a guy hops out of his vehicle a couple spaces back in line and comes and helps. Once we've pushed our way onto level concrete, I thank him and offer him some pizza. He says no thanks, no problem, and he'll help us again if we need it.

Chuck says he saw the guy behind us fingering his girlfriend, who's sitting in the passenger seat of their car, before we got there. Now they're just nuzzling. We agree that once they get their gas and go home, that guy is getting SO laid. Nothing makes the girls swoon like determination in times of trial, the ability to wait in line with gritted teeth 'till it all blows over. It's a Grapes of Wrath sort of thing.

There's a community atmosphere in the gas line. If I had a banjo, and knew how to play the banjo, I would conduct a folk-song singalong, or play requests. But instead the three of us just discuss Biggie and which dead rap star we would be if we had to choose.

Before we know it, we're there.

I give the last piece of our pizza to a Mexican lady in a van at the pump next to ours. They're rationing the gas or something, we can fill up all the way but it's coming out extra-slllllow.

An Indian guy in an ASU engineering sweatshirt comes up and asks us how many nozzles will they...how do you say in English? Gallons? we say.

Yea, he says, gallons.

As many as you want, we say, it just takes a long time. He wanders off, satisfied, and I couldn't be anymore in love with this country if I tried.

Moment of truth time: Will the car start or has it overheated?

Filled with super-expensive Tucson-grade petroleum, the Ford roars to life. Success.

We hop in the back of Chuck's truck. People who were in line behind us clap and cheer. We give them thumbs up and shout for them to honk if they hate Tucson as much as we do.

...but seriously, what's the deal with that Bush administration?

Posted by DC at August 19, 2003 03:56 AM
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