Sunday, November 4, 2012

1:56, a very fast time….for gas

I pulled into the right lane of traffic on a main thoroughfare in Queens currently being used as a gas line.  I stepped out of my car and walked around to the passenger side window of the vehicle in front of mine.  What gas station and how far away, I asked through his window.  ‘Hess’, he replied, ‘and about 4 blocks I think.’  I sauntered back to my CRV thinking two things.  One-I suppose the configuration of that guy’s heating system takes down his hot water along with his power as he was in desperate need of a shower and two-I can see more than four blocks away and couldn’t see a gas station.  

I got off the line, drove away and found the dubious oasis of a pit stop nine and a half blocks away.  Crazy still, they were not pumping any gas and were just waiting for a delivery.  These scenes are playing out all over the NY Metropolitan area.  And as a caveat to this particular encounter, it was 6am.  The vast majority of these wannabe fuel patrons had been sleeping overnight in their cars.  I heard that another nearby Queen’s gas station was shut down by the police while pumping fuel when a fist fight broke out, so add the sum of all those cars next to you in line now.

Notwithstanding all that, in the continual darkness, I navigated myself and my quarter tank of gas back home for breakfast.  Fuel something I suppose.

But getting home is not a sure bet either these days.  Intersections with dead traffic signals are meant to be treated as 4-way stop signs.  Most drivers are either unaware of that fact, or perhaps just don’t care to lower their scarce MPG’s; other great thinkers seemingly believe an expressway has been suddenly opened.  Crossing these major junctions has become dangerous.  I have seen a couple of serious accidents and heard of others who have been badly injured.

And there exists a growing contingent of folks who are riding their bicycles around in pitch black conditions as well.  The combination of not yet removed fallen trees, tangled among down power lines by the sides of unlit roads, sleep deprived bike riders and vehicle operators who now seem desensitized to danger via the omnipresence of police tape and caution cones is a troubling mix. 

The NYC Board of Education has announced that schools will reopen Monday.  However, many schools in the tri-state area are still closed due to lack of power, significant water damage, or they may be functional but are being used as a community shelter.

Throughout the region, homes near the shores were completely destroyed and many other properties will have to be torn down. 

Much of the subway system may be up and moving again, but a better check of reality is that more than 100 people lost their lives in Sandy’s path, at least 42 of those in NY. 

Knowing all this, I could not believe Mayor Bloomberg had even been contemplating going forward with the NYC Marathon that been scheduled for today, but was thankfully canceled as of Friday afternoon.  I’m glad he finally came to his senses.  Police, Fire, Ambulance and other city services are still greatly needed elsewhere.  And the only time results worth measuring today involve how long it will take to move the needle on your dashboard from E to F.

Certainly NYC will continue its rehab and soon be strong, vibrant and healthy again.  For now though, it must begin to walk before it can run.

© 2012 Christopher’s Views

Alas, with a bit of luck a tank of gas will help bring food and clothing to some of those in need. 


  1. I find everything I read, see, all that you have written to be devastating and it has to be scary and depressing as well! My heart does ache for all of you! I think most people feel that this kind of thing happens in third world countries -- not in a place like NYC! All of you are in my thoughts even though that does nothing to help anyone. Take care, Christopher, thank you for keeping us updated -- with the real reality, not just what one sees on TV, bad is that is!!

  2. Super report from the front lines!
    I posted my many deep memories and connections to the Jersey Shore brought it right up to the minute. Know that we are all
    watching and loving yous guyz!

    Aloha from Waikiki,
    Comfort Spiral

    ~ > < } } ( ° >

    ~ ~ ~ <°)333><( ~ ~ ~
    > < } } (°>

  3. oh my...I am so sad to hear that things are going so slow for you and others I thought Bloomberg must have lost his mind or he really is all about his power and his wishes.....nuts....I hope the people remember his callousness.........too many good folks out there who could do his job
    Take care.....and I will be praying for you and your family...soon soon I hope help arrives for you

  4. was smart to cancel and allow those resources to go toward those that needed it...was listening to cnn about the gas lines on friday....dang...really thinking as well to all the people esp considering how cold its going to get..prayers brother...

  5. Do not know what brought you by my blog, but thanks for the comments. I went through a terrible storm in Texas many years ago with three feet of water in my house and had to live with friends for a while and then move into a rental home weeks later bringing my baby and a toddler. It was a nightmare which I survived. Mine was in warmer weather and I do so feel for those for home heating is not an option.

  6. Well it is Monday and the beginning of another work week. I hope things are getting into gear for you. What a storm. I hope you get an easy winter after all of this.

  7. I think I'd be inclined to take a little unplanned vacation time and just stay home for a bit. Driving around sounds just treacherous.

    I was also astounded to hear that resources were at first going toward the marathon. Insane.

    Thanks for the visit, and I hope things are improving little bu little there.

  8. I deeply appreciate this "from the trenches" report of an America that the rest of us kind of know is existing--but that still feels remote and easy to dismiss from thought. Now I have your images in my mind; you've reawakened me to my neighbors. Thank you.

  9. I expect everything is back to normal in those areas which were not destroyed by the storm.

    How long before total chaos would break out if a world utterly dependent on fuel were to be deprived of it? How soon would man revert to savage after a major catastrophe that couldn’t be fixed in a few days’ time?

    PS: Christopher, I think you’ve disappeared from my followers; any idea why?

  10. It's difficult to imagine the chaos felt. I hope your own world is back to normal by now.

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