Life imitates fiction: people hoarding gas set fire to their apartment.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
The government seems to be embroiled in a perfect storm as May rolls in, and temperatures (atmospheric and political) start rising. Between the thousands of people that didn’t make it through the winter (one estimate said it was close to a million), the electrical grid almost collapsing in February, and the “Rationgate” thing that broke last week (not to mention the fuel ration reduction announced just before), the cons have been having a field day. It’s not like they could get control of Congress or anything in November, but they could end up causing a lot of mischief.
It was heartening, though, to hear the Speaker not taking any crap. “The gentleman from Texas ‘deplores the loss of life over the winter’ and wants to lay the blame at the feet of the President and the Congressional leadership,” she said. “But I find that ironic, coming from a primary co-sponsor of a bill to defund heating assistance — if he and his party had their way, those thousands could have been millions. And he would have sanctimoniously blamed the victims for not saving enough to buy heating fuel or a house in the tropics.”
I’m not going to complain about the ration cut — the 8.5 gallons per week we get now is more than most other people got before, and we don’t use it all anyway — but it sure has caused some turmoil on the exchange. Like so many former OPEC countries, ration “exporters” suddenly became “importers.” It was almost embarrassing, what we got for two lousy gallons of stale rations yesterday. I hope things work themselves out pretty soon, or I might sell locally on the private exchange from now on.
The Rationgate thing… jeez. That was just ridiculous. You would have expected it from Bush-league’s appointees, but this administration has been holding itself to a higher standard (not that it would take much effort to do that, mind you). You get one political appointee who decides to “help out his friends” (by jiggering their accounts to make them unlimited) and it can tarnish the whole shootin’ match. If the so-called “friends” had been smart about it, and only bought what they really needed (or even wanted), it wouldn’t have made a difference… but noooooo. They went around selling enough “spare” rations to trigger an inspection, and were busily hoarding more. Until one of them burned down his house, of course. Too bad stupidity isn’t a crime — then again, if you’re stupid enough you’ll eventually do something blatantly illegal, so maybe its indirectly criminal. Hm.
In the “unexpected expense” department, my little motorcycle spit a valve early in the week. I’m hoping to have a replacement motor in before I have to go back to the office, but I might have to bite my lip and take the car. I’d really like to get one of those Yamaha Commuter Scooters, but the waiting list is long and the dealers are getting a stiff premium for them. Someone had his stolen right out of the parking lot at work two weeks ago. The security cameras showed a pickup truck with a lift backing up to it, picking it up, and driving off with the bike dangling off the back. The company is signing everyone up for 15-minute “watch” shifts to prevent that from happening again; if everyone takes a turn, we’ll each have to do it once a week. If that.
The kids finally got up the nerve to ask about their parents last night. You think you’re ready for it, you know you’re not, but you have to do your part. I told them what happened, and how we learned about it. The tears didn’t stop Serena from finally asking, “Were our parents bad people?”
“Of course not,” Mrs. Fetched said. “They wanted what was best for you, and made sure you’d be cared for.”
“They did — or tried to do — something bad,” I pointed out. “You can’t justify armed robbery, after all. But they weren’t bad people, just desperate.”
“And with God’s help, we won’t have to worry about you guys,” Mrs. Fetched said.
Indeed. They took it pretty hard, as expected, but Kim said later that they figured something had happened to them but were afraid to ask. Rene and Christina cried with them, and they were all pretty quiet last night. But I went upstairs this morning to find them, as usual most weekend mornings, sprawled around in the same room. At least they didn’t have to get up and go to school. They'll be out after next week, and the school system is wisely letting the kids have an entire summer so they don’t have to run the air conditioning in the school buildings. Things will still be warm by Labor Day, but it won’t be that brutally oppressive heat we’ll be getting all too soon. Daughter Dearest is going to hop the train and see what she can of the country while it’s still possible, mostly the northern half. I’m hoping that when she gets to Seattle, we can get a video linkup with her granddad from the place where he was on the ship when the Japanese surrendered. Talk about good timing on his part.
So this was a little stream-of-consciousness tonight. Life’s like that sometimes, going in several directions at once.