Prompt 098: Fuel Crisis
98. During the oil crisis in 1973 and 1974, 20 percent of gas stations had no fuel at all to provide consumers. How would your day-to-day life be different if you and your family simply couldn't get gas? What changes might you have to make during such a crisis and why?
Of course, I'll consider this scenario outside of the current pandemic environment. As it stands now, I think when I first went on the working-from-home thing in mid-March, I hadn't refueled the car until mid-June. That was pretty ridiculous. So at first glance, a lack of fuel would not impact me as much right now. However I do imagine that fuel shortage means shipping delays, which means food shortage, which means panic buying at the grocery... So perhaps it might be similar to the first month of the quarantine: visiting the grocery at odd hours so that there wouldn't be lines to deal with, but lots of empty shelves.
I'd walk a lot more on errands. I think back to as recent as last winter, when I would walk to pick up dinner during the week, or lunches on weekends. Just the walk itself was something I deliberately did to not only take up time, but also spend time outdoors and become familiar with the neighbourhood.
Fewer cars on the roads mean that I would consider bicycling more regularly outside the house. The exercise bike is great, but with fewer cars on the roadways I would strongly consider being part of the monthly bike events again, or even making my own trips.
I would likely advertise my services as a bicycle mechanic. I'd offer to help fix peoples' bicycles in the neighbourhood, and maybe even teach people how to ride a bike.
To visit my relatives, I'd consider the bicycle trip again: drive to the halfway point, then take the historical rail trail into town and the rest of the way to their house. I'd eat, take a nap, then be back on the road and return to the car before sundown. It was a nice day trip, with the mileage for there and back again somewhere round 46 miles. I could stand to do that every other weekend or so. At least once a month.
One thing I recall about being a daily bicycle commuter: my massive collection of blown-out inner tubes! When I lived in the city and commuted by bicycle every day, I probably amassed an assortment of close to two dozen damaged tubes. I always said to myself, "Oh, I'll patch those up later." But you know how it is. When I was moving out of that house I remember dropping all of them in the recycling bin on my last few days there. I recycled them, however, specifically because I had a feeling I'd be cycling a lot less. I imagine if there was fuel rationing, I'd have more strongly considered patches and repairs.
For the times I would have to drive to the day job, I would likely hope to carpool or rideshare with a coworker. At least one of my coworkers lives relatively nearby and I'm certain he and I would work something out, trading days where one or the other of us would be the driver and use our respective cars. I'd also consider public transportation for at least part of the ride, bringing my bicycle for the "last mile" of the trip. I lived in Nashville for a time, and on days with crappy weather I would consider this every once in a while.
In a way, it's amusing to consider all these scenarios proposed by this collection of writing prompts. Sure, some of them are true odd-balls, and force me to consider near- or total-impossibilities. On the other hand, prompts like this one which under normal circumstances would seem bizarre at least, now don't seem so dramatic.
There was a presidential debate last night, and I completely avoided it. I knew that the "highlights" would be published the following day. I also knew that were I to stay awake for it, I'd have been all frazzled and wound-up or whatever, and then experienced tremendous difficulty falling asleep for the night.
Upon seeing highlights today, I realized I didn't miss anything. To hell with both of those jerks.