Panic ain’t pretty.



Ever wonder what life will look like if the powers that be don’t come up with some solutions to the gas/energy/global warming/dependence on foreign oil conundrum? Well, last weekend here in Nashville we got a little preview and guess what– NOT GOOD!

Apparently, (and this part is still a little fuzzy), word started spreading around town that because of the recent hurricane activity in the Gulf, the Colonial Pipeline which supplies gas from Texas to Atlanta to Nashville was out of commission. That was partially true, or at least there had been enough damage that the supply was temporarily slowed. If everyone had just carried on as usual, we would have been fine. Unfortunately as soon as RUMORS of a possible shortage got out, everybody in town just lost their shiz and started filling up every vehicle they owned all over town, as well as lugging 5 gallon gas cans into every Mapco, BP and Shell station from here to Jackson. The result? Self-fulfilling prophecy, the whole dang town ran smack out of gas! Honey, we even made CNN– we were the only place in the whole country that was having this kind of reaction and there was a lot of news footage of all of us looking like big ol’  panicked, grouchy Nashvillian fools, lined up for blocks and blocks trying to get GAAAAAAS. And we weren’t nice to each other, either– that whole Southern hospitality thing went right out of the window. Local police had to make sure things didn’t get out of hand at some gas stations because there were fights breaking out all over the place as tempers ran high. Line-jumpers were the cause of most of the fury, although one loyal local guy being interviewed on the news looked earnestly into the camera and said that he thought most of the culprits were “not from here” (read, ‘YANKEES’!)

I started the weekend out at about a quarter of a tank, and though everything in me wanted to join the stampede, the news of people spending hours waiting in line was enough to keep me home. Plus I was trying to be a good citizen and everything. We had houseguests this weekend, and my friend Bobby got home at 1:00 a.m. the day before they were supposed to head back to Texas because he had been sitting in a line all the way down the shoulder of the interstate with his red gas light on for almost 3 hours before he could fill up his tank at a little two-pumper station. He said tempers flared and things got a little dicey when one of the pumps ran out and there were still two lines full of people waiting. Of course, good ol’ Bobby was raised in Bald Knob, Arkansas so frankly my money would have been on him if if things got ugly.

After spending a boring quiet weekend around the house, by Monday I was ready to find some gas and rejoin the world, but alas, it was not that easy. I drove past station after station that had removed the price numbers from their big signs out front, as well as plastic-bagged their pump handles and, for good measure, wrapped the entire gas island in yellow caution tape. It was very eery to pass big empty sign after big empty sign– like that old Twilight Zone episode when Burgess Meredith comes out of the building and finds out he’s the last man left on earth. Remember that one? No? Oh well, I think that one ends up with him stepping on his glasses so he can’t read all of the books in the last library left on earth or something, which is where this analogy breaks down anyway. Libraries and glasses we got, it’s gas we’re out of.

ANYWAY, I waited in line yesterday for about 20 minutes on Franklin Road, a little smug that I had finally happened upon a station with gas and a relatively short line, and then when I was about three cars away from the pump the harried looking station employee that had been standing in the middle of the street directing traffic with a bandanna tied to the end of a yardstick suddenly started waving the two cars in front of me around her. She was making a finger-across-the-throat gesture and shrugging broadly to indicate, I guess, that she was out of gas, didn’t know why, and please don’t kill her. It took another 24 hours before I found another station, and they only had regular grade gas and would only allow me to purchase ten gallons worth.

So… does anyone know if regular gas is going to kill my car (that is supposed to only use premium)? Not that I ever do because, hello! Expensive! But I do usually use the medium grade– what’s that called, ‘Plus’ or something?– and my car has never blown up or anything, so I’m hoping that I’ll be OK. Maybe if I can find a station with Premium I’ll top the tank off with that. My days of being a good citizen are apparently over– GIMMEE SOME GAS, DANG IT! I swear, if this is any indication of what this city is going to be like in case of nuclear holocaust of anything, I think we may be screwed because it’s every man for themselves around here. Yikes. Not a tea party. More like the Donner Party.

So how is it where you guys are, anyway?

“Got gas?!”

(Fill in your own joke here.)

17 Responses

  1. dijea

    Put some of that STP gas treatment in the tank and that should cover the lower octane in your tank. Promise. We all have premium gas guzzling cars and that’s what the mechanic said.

  2. tori

    THANK YOU! I will do that.

  3. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Have you ever felt exceptional, Tori? On Friday we filled up with gas in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, stopped two places after that a filled up, then again when we got back here in Aiken, SC. Not once did we see a tank out of gas. Wanna move? There’s a nice house for sale down the street from mine….and it would just tickle me pink!

  4. auburn60

    Bald Knob–‘Where the Ozarks meet the Delta’–and strawberries rule!
    I thought that was the funniest name I had ever heard until I heard of ‘Possum Grape’ and ‘Booger Hollow’.

    We went through that whole gas thing two weeks ago. One article on the front page of the paper set off a panic, people raced to line up to get gas and prices went to over $5.00 a gallon. Now that prices have gone down to around $3.50 a gallon, another strategically placed article appeared today–and people started freaking out and prices started inching up.We are well trained as a society to respond to the threat of having our transportation taken away.
    I have to admit that I did call my daughter and tell her to go immediately and fill up her gas tank, but mainly because I did not want to be called from the side of the road to come bail her out.Gas gauges just aren’t high on her list of priorities.

    I LOVED the Twilight Zone! Remember the one where all the people had pig faces?

  5. gracelynn

    When I left to pick up Wanda last weekend to go and see Russ in Virginia, Greenville NC was still doing the same thing as your town Tori. Gas pumps were covered, people were lined up at the stations that still had the numbers up – cussing, raring, yelling, and protesting. The only difference is that they were rationing the gas in Greenville. You could not get over 5 gallons. However, I did manage to find a station where the premium fuel there was actually cheaper than the regular fuel (which I normally use) anywhere else. So my poor little Saturn finally got a taste of the high quality stuff ROTFL! Once I got up to Virginia, there was no problem. And we aren’t having any issues between my house and work so I guess the panic is over. The prices have actually dropped a few pennies here and I am thankful they have.

    If you want a dose of Twilight Zone, come teach at my school LOLOL.

  6. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Must be that I traveled a couple days past the “problem.”

    But now I also had to come back and tell Allyson that back home we have a Murderkill River and a Broadkill Beach. As a matter of fact, we have all kinds of strange names that cannot be explained.

    I was just thinking….not that it is anything to make a joke about, but if this Emergency Financial Mess ends up eliminating all credit cards…….Washington will be squashed when women stampede that town.

  7. LindaB

    That’s EXACTLY why we need a woman in the White House, Barb——-someone who will protect our credit cards from greedy old Wall Street crooks! And will regulate those banks who try to tell us our accounts are depleted when we know perfectly well they are fine because we still have checks left! Duh!

    Gee, I hope we never get into a gas shortage like the one in your town, Tori! I don’t know what I’d do! I don’t know if I should take my money out of the stock market and invest in a horse or not! So much uncertainty! I guess I’ll just go eat some ice cream (sugar free, of course) and watch Bill O’Reilly until I fall asleep in the chair. That always works. We haven’t had any shortages around here yet—–which doesn’t make sense since we are even farther from where the hurricane damage occurred than Nashville. And the price is around $3.56 a gallon.

    We sure need an alternative source of energy here in America these days! Using natural gas to power our automobiles sounds like a dandy idea. When can we start? Windmills sound good too—–especially in Washington, D.C. where the “wind” blows all the time. I’m thinking of putting a windmill on top of my car——-it’s always windy up there as I’m driving down the road! (I know that because I’m always putting my hand up there to dry my nail polish. See—–I’m observant!) Why not harness that wind and keep my car goin’? Wow! I’m tellin’ ya——I impress myself sometimes.

  8. rockin robyn

    Wow! That is way too scary. I’ve heard there are problems due to that pipeline being out of commission but so far this part of the East Coast isn’t feeling it. That’s too bad but that is the result of humans getting into panic situations… it is “every man for himself”. Trouble is everyone panics because they know everyone else will – don’t want to get left behind so they panic too! It’s a ripple effect.

    On the way home from bible study this evening I actually stopped to get gas and as I stood there pumping away with no limitations – no worries (remembering reading your blog at work earlier… **shhhhh don’t tell) I actually said a heart felt prayer to make the gas situation ease up so people aren’t burdened with the stress of it all.

  9. emilythemom

    we yankees got gas way out here in good ol’ LaVergne. But you might use it all up coming & going! Feel free to move in for the weekend if you’d like, i’d totally let you cook for me.

  10. belinda

    We have gas in Oklahoma I just filled up last night for $3.32 and there is plenty of it. The other day before Ike hit, we had the long lines because every body was worried about the prices going up, but so far, no shortage yet. It is kind of sad that we have been excited about $3.32 but much better than the almost $4.00 we were paying earlier this year. I can’t imagine only getting 5 gallons at a time, that would not even get me to and from work for one day, okay, not even to work. Come on over to Oklahoma!

  11. CarolynR

    Well apart from Bald Knob :) the thing that really sticks out from your post Tori is the cost of gas in your country!! Am emigrating forthwith. I’ve done a quick calculation using all my fingers and toes, multiplying by .5 and dividing the days of the week into my mother’s age (well something like that – we are metric!) and we pay upwards of $10 a gallon. Have to take out a mortgage every time you fill the tank – if only you could get a mortgage :( Great post. Isn’t the human condition fascinating!

  12. auburn60

    Come on over,Carolyn! I will give you a personal tour of Bald Knob.
    Won’t take long.

  13. CarolynR

    LOL auburn60 might take you up on that :D
    I remember visiting Cut and Shoot in Texas many years ago. But then we’ve got strange place names too, like “Frisby On The Wreake”, “Little Snoring” and “Nasty” !!

  14. tammy961

    Some stations here in Pensacola have had bags over the pumps–which of course means NO GAS–or they have the price removed also—but there has not really been long lines or anything–I think we had people taking gas over towards New Orleans and the Tx. coast because I saw lots of Miss. and La. tags filling big red gas cans…..The price is about 3.70 a gal here for the regular grade and no limits on the amount you can get…We drove to Gadsden, AL on Sunday and the gas seemed to cost more the farther we drove up 65. We even had a 10 gal limit when we stopped for gas in Gadsden….I would have thought it would be higher here on the Gulf Coast..I know all of us Floridians will be so happy when Nov. 1st gets here–the end of hurricane season….

  15. Barbara M. Lloyd

    My goodness, I spoke too soon. From all reports, Delaware is still not having a problem…..but this little sleepy, horsey town of Aiken, SC, has been hit with a vengence. We are out of gas and as soon as a station opens up with some of that black gold, there is a made rush by cars of every shape and size. There ya go, we’re a little slow here in the south.

  16. Steve Weber

    No insanity here in NY execpt for the price. It’s starting to go down dime by dime at least for know. But with all the wall street woes who knows?

    The real solution for us it to keep our riches in Heaven and to trust the God will take care of us. That’s a real problem for me. I always feel like I have to do it myself. Over the years though I realize that God really is in control. He really does work all things togethor for good for those that love him and are called accoring to his purpose. But there’s always a little something in me that says “You’re on your own.”

  17. natesings

    Sorry for the late reply to an older entry but I just discovered your blog this morning so I’m playing catch up.
    We had the same problem here in Augusta, GA (not far from previous poster Barbara M. Lloyd) that same week. I typically laugh at the crazies and wait it out (usually a rumored price hike will make them line up at the pumps) but since we were going to Atlanta for our anniversary on the 27th, I was out there on the 25th with the rest of the nut-jobs for about 2 hours. I’m sure over half the people in line didn’t need gas and were just topping off. I guess it all come down to the selfish “gotta get mine” mentality. Guess what? Thirty miles down the interstate towards Atlanta, yup you guessed it, plenty of gas, no lines, no waiting.
    I really enjoy your blog. Keep it up!

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