Daze of My Life: It's Not Fun or Funny
Daze of My Life
It's Not Fun or Funny
The re-escalating price of gasoline is starting - or rather accelerating - its impact on my digestive system; that is to say, it's giving me more than indigestion. It's beginning to eat away at the layers of tolerance that I've built up over the years, and is likewise effecting, adversely I may add, my sunny disposition. In spite of the many suggestions one hears about driving to maximize one's use of gasoline as efficiently as possible (properly inflated tires; clean air filters; slowing down, generally, smoother accelerations and more gradual decelerations, etc.) the fact of the matter is, I wonder how much any of it really matters - in the big picture. Picture this, with less mattering, to me, I'm getting madder at more people for indiscretions, oversights, forgetfulness and so forth that I might otherwise have ignored when the price at the pump - and some of the related product and service increases - were not returning to previously painful highs.
Now I haven't quite gone public yet, with any of my observations and suggestions as the actual circumstances have presented themselves. But if anybody was telepathic or could read lips - or understood muttering - I'd have already gotten into a number of fistfights; well, verbal confrontations, at least. And it's not like I wrote the book on social discourse or proper behavior when push comes to shove (figuratively speaking, of course; I don't condone violence). But, there does seem to be a "dollars and sense" correlation. If I were to guess, and make a casual, non-scientific, not-supported-by-any-empirical-evidence observation - as the price of a gallon of gasoline goes up, people's behavior has an inverse reaction to it: it goes down, as in it gets worse. As the dollars needed to fill the tank become almost indecent (again), so too does the corresponding behavior of the person filling that tank.
I don't know if it's simply that we feel helpless against the forces combining (I didn't say conspiring, many others did, though; others with a great deal more knowledge and insight than I will ever have.) to prime the pump, but the loss of any control over a portion of the family, business and/or government budget allocated for such expenses, creates a stress unhealthy for mere mortal men. Moreover, the victimization and exploitation us mere mortal men feel as the Oil and Gas companies quarterly profits are announced simultaneously it seems, to the still-increasing unemployment rate and bankruptcy protections being granted to some of America's oldest and most familiar companies, gives one pause to reflect: Has America passed itself by? Is what opportunity and quality of life, which many of us have experienced - and some even taken for granted - indeed been compromised by circumstances many in a position of responsibility say is mostly beyond our country's control? And if so, does that mean that our future is not nearly as bright as we thought it was? And if the future is likely to be more difficult than the past, then my attempts at humor concerning the minutiae of everyday life seem rather unimportant.
But I can't solve any of these problems; I can only write about them - and complain (a little ignorance goes a long way). I have to tell you, though, from where I sit - and write, it's getting ugly. People (myself included) are getting irritated, and unless something changes soon, the American consumer will be an endangered species.
Put that in your oil tanker and ship it!
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.