Sunday, September 28, 2008


I literally could not find gas to buy yesterday. Everywhere I went I was greeted by gas stations that looked like vacant lots with blank prices on their marquees indicating they were fresh out.

I don't want to belabor the most thoroughly-covered Atlanta news story by writing about my experience in our gas shortage, but I am surprised by my own reaction to it. And I'm usually level-headed, okay, even inappropriately dismissive of the concerns of the consuming masses. For those outside of Georgia that cannot fathom what they are seeing on the national news, there are some great photos from the AJC of the long queues for car blood transfusions.

By the way, I followed what the newscasters said would help the crisis - earlier this week I had half a tank, I didn't have far to drive, so I didn't panic and top-off my supply. I drove slower and I braked less. And I got down to the red yesterday and there was still no gas to be found.

The anxiety permeated. I fell asleep thinking about gas, I dreamed about gas, I woke up before 9am on a Sunday and gas was my first concern. We Americans are so used to having everything at our fingertips and I was surprised at my own level of perceived crisis when I couldn't access what I wanted/needed.

Granted, I can rationalize it by saying that I needed to make sure I had enough in my tank that I would be able to get to death row in the event of a bad decision from the US Supreme Court for Troy Davis, but I'm sure we all can rationalize it for things that are equally important: getting kids to school, driving to work to have a paycheck so you can eat, visiting a loved one in crisis- there's a million justifications for panic.

I searched online for sites that said which stations had gas - mostly I found sites that told you where to find the cheapest gas which is totally not useful as price doesn't matter if there is none to be had. Finally, I came across the Twitter discussion where people were posting live updates of where they had found gas.

My story ends well, I have an almost full tank - the Kroger on Moreland station cuts you off at 10 gallons, and I have a 14 gallon tank. I waited for 30 minutes in a long line that went up and down the parking lot aisles - and this was at 9:30am on a Sunday. I think people were skipping church to get gas before it all runs out!

And now I find myself questioning the errands I had planned on running today - is it really worth it to expend my precious gas to go to the far north side of the city to get that painting framed? Wouldn't it be better for me to just stay home and organize my bathroom cabinets that I've been procrastinating on for 6 months instead?

This shit is bananas.


Reem Tara said...

Those AJC pictures are INSANE! FYI, Genia also had a dream last night that she ran out of gas, but she had no idea about the shortage in Atlanta. weird...

Vanessa said...

its funny, i also always like to think that im above all the panic that surrounds the "average" atlantan. tomatoes will give me e. coli? not worried. but no gas? OHMYFUCKINGGOD. i was kinda embarrased by my need to find gas and somehow felt like a more righteous person cuz i only filled up half a tank. bananas is right.

Sara Ashes said...

omg, I know! I was giving looks to the people in giant pick up trucks and SUVs around me "nice gas-guzzlers losers!" and then I realized we all get cut off at 10 gallons, regardless of the vehicle. As Reem would say, whoops a daisy!