Saturday, June 14, 2008

Measuring in Gallons

Is it just me, or is everyone else measuring everything in gallons of gas these days?

That latte? That'll set you back 1 gallon of gas.
The free-range, natural chicken I considered buying for a millisecond? A whopping 2 gallons of gas. Per. Pound.
Those shoes? Better start saving, because they're a full tank.
And a pound of strawberries? At about a half-gallon, they seem like a steal.

Get used to it, I tell myself. Europeans have been paying this much for gas for years. While this is the reality, it doesn't make it any easier to swallow. But it could be worse; I could be a truck driver in Spain. Or an Ethiopian. Or a citizen of some other poor, developing country. Maybe now that gas prices are starting to strain our purses we Americans will collectively start making more conservation-minded choices.

Or maybe we'll continue to do what we've always done: Thank God for our freedom to live however we choose, and as well as we can afford, without considering the consequences of our actions on our communities, our country or our world. Isn't that what being an American is all about?

I know I sound all judgmental and cynical, but all the doom and gloom, all the natural disasters and economic hardship, are making me wonder if we really can make a difference. I mean, for every person who is conscious of their own impact on the collective financial, environmental, medical and mental health of the world, it seems there are a dozen more who, for whatever reason, can't see beyond their own noses.

And sometimes, I'm not sure which group I fall into. I'm trying to make a difference, be more other-centered, do my part. I just don't know if it's making a difference. And if I forget to unplug my electronics today, have I negated all the efforts I made yesterday? How might my life measure out in gallons of gas? Would it turn out that I'm just as much to blame for the state of the world as the person down the street driving that Hummer? I'm not sure I want to know.

4 comments:

Betsy said...

I don't think you're cynical. I think you are honest. I'm becoming more and more disgusted with the American attitude, as well. And being an American, I include myself in that blanket statement.

Americans are like bulls- we charge. We charge through things with this "Can do" attitude that was appropriate and necessary until about 1950. Now? Not so appropriate or necessary. That "can do" attitude has morphed into a sense of entitlement and the equivalent of a 3-year-old's temper tantrum. "I want it. I deserve it. Who says I can't?"

*sigh* Suddenly, France isn't looking so bad, is it?

Crochet Diva said...

I laughed out loud at your first sentence here. My husband looked at me like, "What's funny"... I then had to read it to him. How true!

nejyerf said...

you know....i'm reading what you are saying and nodding in agreement, but i'm also overcome by how well written this post was.

this is going to sound all kinds of patronizing but your writing is just like good scotch or cheddar cheese, it keeps getting better and better with age (so to speak)

does that make sense?

smtwngrl said...

Betsy - I've seriously been considering Europe as a potential place of residence these days. At least they have well-developed public transportation. Thanks for making me feel a little less whiny.

Crochet Diva - Funny, yet panic inducing... :)

nejyerf - I'm blushing here. Thanks for the compliment. I definitely think my writing has improved gradually over time. And I'm hoping the growth is exponential...a higher rate of return would be nice.

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