June 17, 2002
A Worrisome Anomaly

Driving home to Maine from Blogapalooza on Saturday, I decided to stop for gas in central Connecticut. The first station I stopped at listed prices of $1.99, $2.39, and (I think) $2.99 for the three grades of unleaded. I of course kept on driving. (Note for those outside the U.S.: current prices are around $1.50 per gallon, plus or minus 10-15% depending on the grade, the station, and the state, since taxes vary.)

My first thought, which is also my current thought, is that the owner of this particular gas station is either stupid or insane or just doesn't want to sell his gasoline -- perhaps he's working on some kind of complex tax-sheltering lose-money-to-make-money strategy.

My second thought was more depressing. Since the invention of the plug-into-the-dash CD player, I have never listened to the radio on long drives. As I pulled out of the station, it occurred to me that it had been 2-3 hours since I had left New York, and that that was enough time for something really horrible to have happened in the Middle East without my hearing about it, something that would cause gasoline prices to skyrocket, and enough time for the more alert gas station owners to start raising their prices in anticipation. That's when I decided to turn on the radio for a quick and reassuring sweep through the local channels.

That reminds me of a not entirely dissimilar incident:

My father was in the Navy, and I've lived near a lot of different airbases in my life. I hardly even notice low-flying jets, unless they are very loud or their shadows are very obtrusive. This is true even since September 11th. The one exception was last fall when I was living at 144th and Broadway in Manhattan. It wasn't so much that a jet flew over very low and very loud, it was the fact that it flew over just as President Bush was about to throw the ceremonial first pitch at Game 3 of the World Series in Yankee Stadium, only three or four miles from my apartment. Of course, my immediate thought was that it was 100-1 that the noise came from a patrolling Navy or Air Force jet, but that other one percent was still quite disturbing. The fact that the television was already on and tuned to the right channel to watch events unfold didn't exactly help.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at June 17, 2002 12:24 AM