Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Five dollar gas in Kensington Brooklyn

Well folks, it won’t be long now.
With gas well over four dollars a gallon here in Kensington,
we should be paying over
five bucks by July. And I really wouldn’t mind paying that much
if the government threw in free healthcare like in Canada.
But I don’t think I’ll ever see that day while I’m alive. No, five bucks a gallon and all we get is the free use of the slimy squeegee at the “On the Run” on Fort Hamilton Parkway.

Did you ever see how disgusting that water looks?
And it really smells too.

And me, well I’m stuck with a 2005 Nissan Quest that gets a wonderful 15.5 miles a gallon here in Brooklyn. I think that for every five cents a gallon gas goes up, the Quest is worth another five hundred dollars less. Just a constant reminder of the mistake I made when gas was about 1.69 a gallon back in March of 2005 when we bought the stupid thing. Oh, and don’t ever believe the MPG on the dealer sticker, it WILL get 5 miles per gallon less. I promise you that.

So what do we do you ask?

Well, we can throw all caution to the wind and just buy a Prius. Except when you figure it all out on paper we’d only be saving about 1100 dollars a year on gas. And that’s with driving 20,000 miles a year no less. So it might be a wonderful way to save the planet, but with another new car payment that I don’t have right now, it just doesn’t make smart financial sense.

But don’t tell my wife, she just thinks we should buy one anyway.

So right now we are stuck in neutral, and the fill-ups will be up to eighty bucks very soon.

Can you imagine that? Eighty bucks? Wow.

Oh yes, but then there was a hot summer night back in 1979, and a wonderful evening on Coney Island Avenue that I will never forget.

“Did you see what they’re charging for gas Ronnie?”
“The sign said almost a dollar a gallon”

The gas line was so long that it stretched all the way to “Rockys Pizza” on Church Avenue from the gas station down at Avenue C.

The Brooklyn sun had just finished setting over Boro Park in the West. There were hundreds of cars on the line, tempers were “long”, and we were just having the time of our young lives.

“You're gonna kill the battery stupid, lower the volume”

We were all inside my 1973 Buick Century listening to a bunch of 8-tracks that I kept in the car. My friend Neil was standing on the roof of the Buick looking down towards the gas station. Just some Boston, Meatloaf and the Cars blaring through the rear window speakers.

I think we got on the line at about seven at night, it moved for a while and then stopped dead. We were told that they ran out of gas and had to wait for the truck to come. With nothing to do on a Friday night as usual, we just waited, waited and waited. Just talking about life and dreams on a Kensington night, and blaming Jimmy Carter and the oil companies for the whole thing before it was over.

“Hey Ronnie, I think I see a tanker truck down there, it looks like the gas finally came”

It was probably about 2AM before the line started moving again. And no one was mad, no one was angry. Because misery loves company you know, except no one was really miserable. In fact the whole experience was actually rather exciting. Just one big “Samba” line of cars, music and people on a Friday night in Brooklyn.

For all it was worth, that was the only “gas line” I was ever on back in the 70’s. I only used the Buick on weekends because I took the train to work everyday. So the whole nightmare was just one Friday night for me, well, it really wasn’t a nightmare actually.

And when we finally pulled up to
the pump, I filled up the Buick.
It must have cost me about sixteen bucks.

Sixteen bucks to fill up my tank,
and all we got for free was the
use of their slimy squeegee.

Wow, can you imagine that?

Ron Lopez
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