If there has to be a plus to the high price of gas these days, I think I’ve discovered it. Have you noticed how much friendlier folks are at the gas pump these days? Not the poor clerk behind the counter who is taking abuse over prices he has no control over, but your fellow gougee on the other side of the pump. Instead of pumping gas and not making eye contact with anyone, or just staring at the ground until it clicks off, people are talking. They are even laughing. Well, it’s that pained laugh you make when you go to the dentist or someone says, “this is going to hurt just a little bit.” A little bit, my butt. But still, it’s laughter.
Like the conversation I had with a stranger over what we paid for gas when we first started driving (me-37 cents a gallon, I could fill my VW bug for 3 bucks and some change), and then we lamented how this was affecting the working poor. How is someone living on the edge paying for gas to get to work and groceries?! It worries me terribly because I know I’ve been cutting back, but what if you have nothing to cut back? We shook our heads and bonded over the next four minutes, instant best of friends. Sort of economic trench buddies.
Then there were the two guys comparing whose boat took more gas (what is it about guys that it is always a competition?!) and which was better for pulling it, where they were headed and their favorite marinas–before the price of gas nudged over 4 bucks, I doubt they would have done any thing other than want to fill up first so they could beat the other one to the launch at Alki Beach. But the price of gas got them talking and laughing.
As I filled my tank Saturday morning, people around me were sharing politics, hybrid envy, and mileage. Commute agonies and bus routes. All because they need something to do other than watch their hard earned money go ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching into the gas pump.
Boy, I wish I still had my VW bug. And that it only took a latte’s worth of money to fill it up . . .