My tank was a little lower than I'd realized. I'd been trying to be extra frugal about using my car, trying to eke out the tank I had awaiting post-Hurricane Ike replenishment, but it didn't last as long as I'd hoped. I went out to fill up my tank to prepare for the drive in to work tomorrow.
Somehow, I didn't realize that the shortfall had become quite so urgent. All up and down the road, gas stations had blank signs, indicating that they were out of gas.
I went to another main thoroughfare, increasingly anxious because my tank usually gets about 275 miles, and I was at 260, the red Empty line looming. I knew from being in the car with my husband the other day that we'd seen a huge line of cars at a gas station ... now I knew why: it was the only place in our area left with any gas.
I drove there, hoping they'd still have some. The Chevron across the street didn't have any. I stacked into the line of cars, hoping the pumps wouldn't run out, hoping I wouldn't run out before I got to the station.
Seriously. It took me an hour to get gas, including the line. When I got to the pump, all but a few of the selections had "Out" signs taped over them.
I filled up. I found out that this is happening all over Georgia.
Refilled, I went straight home, and ate a simple meal, all thoughts of going out forgotten so that I wouldn't have to burn my tank.
It felt disturbingly Mad Max all of a sudden this afternoon. The very sobering reality of "what if it were gone?" hit as fumes trailed out of the exhaust pipes of car after car in the line ahead of me.
Our infrastructure is a very fragile thing, folks. And I have to wonder why the heck I'm even experiencing this, and why I was even able to purchase a gasoline-powered car at this point in history (well, close to three years ago, but still). While in line, I thought of the Seventies, and the gas rationing. Why are we still worrying about this? Why didn't we learn and change our ways after the last gas crisis?
We need to stop the "drill, drill, drill" chant and fix the core problem once and for all. Cheap, renewable energy needs to happen now. There's plenty of research that's been done on all kinds of materials -- algae, kudzu, trash, and more -- we can fix it. And we need to quit procrastinating and leaving it for the next generation the way previous ones have left it for us to deal with. We need to take responsibility.