July 13, 2006

They Have Us Over A Barrel

Today, oil prices hit a record high. Closing price: $76.70, and our pain at the pumps is not expected to ease anytime soon. Why does this not surprise me? While the gas gouge is in full force, the oil and gas producers are making record profits.

Obviously, those who are responsible for this gouge are not losing sleep over what they are doing to us. They are laughing all the way to the bank. They know they have us over a barrel (literally) and don't seem to mind.

What is the alternative to buying gasoline? In all honesty, in the days we live in, there is none that I can think of.

Simpler Times

Try to think about how differently we live now than our ancestors did. They scrounged around for what they had to have and bartered for many or most of their daily needs. They lived in more humble abodes and didn't absolutely have to own an automobile. They rode horses, bicycles, or walked wherever they went. They lived off the produce that came from their own gardens, they milked their own cows, they were skilled hunters. Whatever else they may have needed, they foraged for. They didn't have mortgages. And their teens college tuition was not keeping them awake at night.

Their jobs didn't include running a company, flipping burgers, or telemarketing. They spent much of their spare time, if they had any, lending a hand to a neighbor in a jam.

As a result of this laid-back lifestyle, they had less need for anxiety medications or head shrinks. Day after day there was hard physical labor for one and all, yet most went to bed at night without suffering from insomnia. They would never have needed ambien or nytol. I have heard the stories first hand as I am the granddaughter of a sharecropper. In those days I have been told that work was done at one's own home and within the confines of their own property.

There were gardens to grow in the spring and winter. There was wood to chop. There were cows and horses to tend to. There were eggs to gather, cows to milk, and bread to be baked. There was canning that my family had to do if they wanted to get through the winter with meat still on their bones come springtime.

An apple tree or peach tree was a pot of gold to them!

Now we visit our local supermarkets and pick out choice fruit to be scanned and paid for.

People were less lazy in those days because they had to walk everywhere they went! There were no television controllers that they had by their side, they had to get up off the couch to change even one channel. They had 3 channels if they were lucky, now we have 153!

There wasn't time to ponder on what they wanted to "do" with their lives. They didn't have time to "find themselves", they had to make it through today and on through the next.

There was survival on their minds at all times. This was hard wired into them. This one thing stayed constantly at the forefront of their very existence.

They never knew of those things which we now take for granted.

I often think of my grandparents and what they would think of the things we now have at our disposal. Some of these gadgets and luxuries would blow their minds. I can just see my grandmother running a bread machine.

Our current unpleasantness

Why am I writing these things? Because it is evident that we've come a long way baby. We've come so far from those days that it is incredible. And along with this change has come an abundance of technology. Along with our changing times has come a type of slavery. Yes, it's true that I am increasingly feeling like a slave to the oil and gas producers. We are all burdened down with the current unpleasantness of high gas prices. If you want to get back and forth to work, you must have transportation. If you want to buy food, you must jump in your car and drive to the store. Fueling up is a must for us all.

Those who make laws and oversee our Government dealings are remaining mostly silent on this issue with the exception of a few. Senator of North Dakota, Byron Dorgan has raised the issue more than once on behalf of the American people. Will he be able to shake those around him? I hope so. I don't know how much longer we Americans can take this gouging that's going on.

More on the gas gouge in upcoming articles.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bravo! You hit it right. We are over a barrel so to speak, hehe. When I was a kid I was told how oil would become a big problem later in my life. I was riding my bike everywhere then. I was ready for some new ways to live. But as I grew older the suburbs kept being built farther and farther from the shops. We lived near DOWNTOWN in our city, my Mother walked to the grocery store with her little cart. Yes a fruit tree was golden and I was taught to can food in mason jars. I hated cherry pitting. I learned how to conserve and didn't over eat then. I don't now either.
But I started to ask questions about our houses moving farther and farther away from the shops. How can we sustain this life? I didn't want to get too dependent on a car. Cars were for taking Sunday trips in and for Dad to go to work.Most families had one car. We had 4 Mom and Pop shops near our home to walk to. I walked a lot then too.
I am very tired of being accused of having some LOVE AFFAIR with my car. The reality is, I can't buy a house close enough to my work. I have to drive. The housing market is way out of my ability to pay for a decent home. Seattle homes are about $500,000 for a median older house now. It is unaffordable if you don't make $100,000 per year and are childfree. Yep kids are costly now. Why have them?
I would much rather walk to the shops and garden. I once had a chance to visit Australia and in the little village area I was in I could walk to the grocers, produce shop, butchers and the little sundry shops that filled your other needs. I never drove in that country. No need.Buses and trains ran great. I wondered why we can't do that here too? Now we have urban sprawl, and the cost of gas is out of reach for many. I have had arguments with some professional friends that if we aren't careful they are not going to have any restaurants or shops near them as people can't get to work and live on $9 per hour. I have seen several of our restaurants close with signs that they cannot get help anymore in my little town.
People who do the non professional jobs are just looked down on as unable to think so they got a stupid job like garbage collector. What happens when your garbage costs go out of sight?
So I would rather live closer to a town center and walk to buy my needs. I have recently learned I don't have a lot of needs, material things are not important anymore. Having time and enough to cover expenses is most important.
So why do we get accused of having some love affair with oil when we can't even live in the area our work is in. My husband has to drive from a different county 40 miles one way to his deputy sheriff job in the next county every day.We would LOVE to live in the county he works for. We just can't make enough, we are not white collar technical workers. We didn't get to buy a house when they were actually affordable, we don't get to inherit a home from a parent. We have to make this work on our own. But driving is becoming a real question, I combine 6 errands every time I go to town. This kills one day off. I guess we are all just going to have to start communes or something and share.