Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Gas Pains

Mickie McGee

This gasoline thing is becoming a real pain. It takes me $60 to fill up my SUV, which is now being dubbed by many as a Sports Utility Victim. $60! Can you believe it? People have started to look at me with this sympathetic little smile when they see me drive up to the pump. I'm driving the biggest gas guzzler on the highway.

Pulling up to a pump these days is sort of like taking out a bank loan. I think, can I really afford this? Will they come siphon it out if my check bounces?

I can actually remember when a gallon of gas cost 32 cents. It was 1966 and I rode around town regularly in my grandfather's 1952 Plymouth. I could usually fill the thing up with my weekly allowance and have a few cents left over.

I don't fill up my vehicle anymore. I tell people I'm trying to wean it.

That's why, to my husband's chagrin, whenever my gas guage is close to empty I'll pull into a station and get only $10 worth of gas.

"Why do you do that?" he asks, exasperated. "Do you realize you're only getting a couple of gallons of gas?" Yes, I do. I just figure the way the gas prices rise and fall on a regular basis, maybe the next time I need a couple of gallons it'll be cheaper, and I'll still have some money in my pocket. And too, weaning isn't such a bad idea.

It's getting downright depressing. So much so that now when I putter in for a drink of petrol, I sit in the car for a moment or two and debate the issue. Do I really want to spend $10 on gas right now? Ten dollars would buy me a plate of sesame chicken at the Chinese restaurant, plus a couple of egg rolls.

Ten dollars would get me in the movies (with my senior citizen discount) and buy me a small bag of popcorn, no butter. Ten dollars would buy a thousand pieces of penny candy. Ten dollars would get me a manicure for one of my hands.

I absolutely hate to pour gas into something that inhales it all before I leave the filling station. Maybe I have a hole in my gas tank. I need to check.

I saw a fellow last Saturday at the Lincolnton Baptist Blood Drive. His t-shirt read: "I gave at the pump." I know how he feels.

He said he actually remembered when a tank of gas cost less than his car payment.

I think my new neighbor is a millionaire. I was at Fast Times the other day and got behind his truck at the pump. He actually filled the sucker up!

My sister-in-law, the missionary, says we're making way too much out of gas prices here in the states. "It's $5 a gallon in Korea," she said. Yeah, but a car in Korea costs a five-hundred dollars. It all evens out.

Next time I need to go to town I'm calling a tow truck. I think it would be cheaper than driving.

I really feel sorry for older people on fixed incomes. There's no way they can afford to buy fuel for their cars. I saw an old man outside Augusta Mall with a sign around his neck, "Will work for gas." Pitiful, just pitiful.

We're getting wiser though and every day we're coming up with more inventive ways to beat the gas crunch.

I got an invitation yesterday for a wedding shower. At the bottom of the card it read: Registered at Target, Macys, Mobil, BP, Shell, and Texaco.

Gas pains. We've all got 'em.


Mickie McGee was raised in a small town forty miles north of Augusta, Georgia. She has been married to a John Deere "veteran" for thirty-eight years and has two grown sons. Her childhood was chocked full of exciting, sometimes traumatic, events and thus, her penchant for writing about them. She writes a personal column,"Dear Hearts," in her weekly hometown paper and, at last count, had written some 340 of them. As far as she's concerned, one can only write (that is, with any passion) of what one has experienced, and she has experienced quite a lot in her half a century of living, and she gets a thrill each and every time a reader gushes, "I've been there, done that!"

© Mickie McGee

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2008