I'm torn because I don't know who to be more angry with on this whole situation...the news media definitely bears a significant amount of responsibility. Honestly, you can't whip the viewship into a frenzy of worry and then say, "but please don't top off your tank constantly and hoard gas." We don't live in a society that can self-monitor...people will immediately run out to the nearest gas station, wipe out the reserve of fuel, and then get into fistfights or pull guns on each other in outrage over cutting in line. You can't turn to a news channel without constant coverage of when gas is expected, who's got gas, why there will be a problem for some time...it's making people crazy.
But then, Thursday, Pat McCrory makes a statement that a huuuge load of fuel is coming in and there'll be enough for everyone soon. We drove to my parents' house this morning and there was not a station on our way in Charlotte that had gas. There were a couple in Union County, and those had lines down the street with cops directing traffic. My conspiracy theorist side believes that the announcement about the "massive shipment" of fuel was probably not true at all, but was just an attempt to stop the hysteria. The problem with that, though, is that the announcement of lots of fuel is going to send people out in droves as well.
My inner conspiracy theorist also toyed with the idea earlier today that the news media just wants to see how well they can control the populace. I know that's far-fetched, and it's really just got to do with the rabid, blind, ruthless pursuit of ratings, but, were the media wanting to get a gauge of their own power, this gas shortage has most definitely proven to them that they are able to incite almost primitive behavior in otherwise decent human beings.
We got gas several days ago, so we were not worried, until today when Joey had only 1/4 tank, and he'll definitely have to drive up to school Friday, so we needed to get him fueled up. We finally found a station on the way home that had just started to develop a line, so we only had to wait for twenty minutes or so, and the man running the station was doing his best to direct the traffic to keep things flowing and to keep people honest. It wasn't a terrible experience. I still have half a tank, so I should be okay for most of next week.
Honestly, I can't even imagine what it's like for those people with huge gas-guzzling vehicles right now. I am so thankful that we have two cars that get over 30 mpg. I'm also hoping that our society takes note at how over-dependent we are on oil. I doubt they will, as we seem to be the only area affected and thus, no one is talking about us on a national level, but it really brought home the idea to me of living more locally and smaller, or at least getting in shape so one can ride distances on a bike;).
So, we're spending the evening at home to keep from wasting gas. In full frugal mode, we've got the windows open, letting the cool breeze in, have the lights off and are using the natural light from outside, and will be eating out of the pantry tonight. Tomorrow, we'll just go to church and do our grocery shopping on the way home, and then we will be in for another night.
I've got our menus planned for the next week, and Joey and I have planned for it to be a little more expensive week than normal because I really want to stock up on staples. This gas experience has really gotten me thinking about having a stocked pantry after seeing how possible it would be to end up stranded, needing to live off our own stores for weeks at a time.
The older I get, the more I begin to understand this world and the cycles in which it runs. To my grandparents who lived through the Depression, this is nothing new. To my parents who went through the last Recession and gas rationing, this is nothing new, but to my generation, this is devastating, and it's worse than it's ever been, because we're more dependent on conveniences than we ever have been. Generations past have known how to take action to live in a self-sufficient manner. We're used to cell phones, mp3 players, cable, microwaves, supermarkets, cars...and were these things to be taken away, we wouldn't know what to do.
Employment focus is more and more on the financial markets, which are starting to prove themselves to be a house of cards of sort, based on greed and money that doesn't even exist...which all works very well until it's time to settle up and there's no way to pay. Few of us still focus on the work of our own hands...we don't need to because we can just import it from a third world country.
It all concerns me. I love technology just as much as everyone else (except cell phones. I hate them), but I'm just concerned that we're not as balanced of a society as we used to be...we're always a people of excess...if ONE is great, then ONE HUNDRED must be even greater!! We fail to understand that there is a place in this world for every task, for every specialization, and once we start to move the basic rudimentary jobs away, we're making ourselves more and more dependent on others to meet our basic needs.
We weren't always that way....this country was founded on the ideals of working together as a community to provide for ourselves, without being under someone else's thumb. Now, we're only interested in passing the "boring" or "annoying" jobs off to someone else so that we can do something more sophisticated. It's like we've completely forgotten that sometimes it's necessary to do things that we don't necessarily want to do, just because we know it's good for us to do them.
Sorry...no solutions here. Probably not a whole lot of facts and statistics either. Just my feelings from watching the mass hysteria in Central NC and hoping that whoever is elected will take these things to heart and pay attention to the proper direction that we need to take our country.