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Monday, August 13, 2007

FAR Future: Episode 5

I’ve been meaning to post two episodes per week — obviously, that didn’t happen last week. I might try doing three this week to make it up.

Monday, August 13, 2012
Card Sharps

That was… interesting. The DoE must have had everything lined up in advance for the rationing announcement. How they kept it under wraps is anyone’s guess.

But if you didn’t need to get gas today, and you haven’t had the radio on, give yourself a couple extra minutes when you do go to get gas. You’ll have to go inside and show them your driver’s license, they punch in the number and out pops a temporary ration card with 20 gallons on it. That’s supposed to last you at least through the end of the month, so don’t use it up right away. People who planned on some advance warning, so they could stockpile gas, are gonna be pissed. A couple of co-workers were pretty agitated… I think one of them forgot his wallet, so he wouldn’t have been able to get gas anyway.

I just had to catch some talk radio to hear what the double-digit IQ brigade is being told to think about it. Shotgun Sam had one of the Planet Georgia congresscritters on this evening; I didn’t catch which one. Could have been mine, for all I know or care. Pretty much what I expected, oh boo hoo hoo, free market, boo hoo hoo, warnings about “playing politics” with allocations (right wing-speak for “we want more than our fair share”), boo hoo hoo, etc.

(I was going to delete this part, but it’s sort of related, so…) The spew-bots earn their pay by stirring up their listeners; threats and actual attempts on government officials make the news more often than not these days. Figures: conservatives have always been willing to use force when they can’t trick enough idiots into voting for them (and except for places like Planet Georgia, fewer and fewer are falling for the lies). It probably didn’t help when the NRA got designated a “terrorist-sympathetic” organization last year; wingers hate getting their faces rubbed in reality. To them, terrorists are the brown people with turbans who want to kill us, not the goober looking to settle an imagined score with the gubmint.

But anyway, the NFRD site (the URL is printed on the temporary cards, hard to miss actually) is actually well-done, and they gave it enough bandwidth — it probably helps that half the country is blacked out at any given moment. Check it out, you can fill out a little questionnaire and get a pretty good idea of what your weekly allotment is going to be. Oh, if you haven’t figured it out, when you use your new (not the temporary) ration card the first time, it will dock your purchases from the temporary card and invalidate the temp card. Again, don’t go nuts with your temporary! It turns out that since Mrs. Fetched works on a farm, we’ll get a little extra gas per week. Living in a rural area got us a little more, but having an “office job” took most of it back — I’m supposed to telecommute more, I guess (which suits me just fine). 10 gallons a week doesn’t sound like much, but I use less than 3 for my twice-weekly commute, and I can pick up some groceries on the way home. Mrs. Fetched isn’t thrilled, but two trips for shopping a week won’t use more than another 2-1/2. So if we’re careful, we can get by with half our allocation and make a little extra money selling what’s left over on the exchange. But we’ll probably build up a cushion first, in case we have any problems.

Speaking of the exchange, I saw where eBay is threatening to sue the DoE, saying Yahoo had some kind of inside track to getting the contract to manage the NFRD “exchange” site (think auction with fairly tight controls). Yahoo’s response amounted to “sore loser, nyah nyah,” which I suppose is the only real way to respond in a situation like this. Either eBay can prove something, in which case the bids should be re-negotiated, or they can’t and should just shut up. I wonder how much energy they’ll waste on that.



  1. Wow FAR, this is all to real. You're writing seems so real. It makes me wonder how 'real' the rest is?

    Hmmm. There's a question....

  2. Hi FAR.

    This reminded me in a way of when I was in Germany. The military issues ration cards. Gas, coffee, tea, sugar and cigs get punched out of the cards. You get a new one each month. You could buy this stuff on the German economy, but pay 3-4 times more for it.

    It makes me wonder if we really did have ration cards here how the rest of the world would fare.

    Wonderful writing as usual FAR. I keep looking forward to these installments.

  3. KB, it took me a minute to understand what you're saying, then I went yipe! Seriously, anything not labelled "fiction" is real… at least from my perspective. (I've been trying to talk Daughter Dearest into taking a "guest contributor" role, to provide another perspective on some angles… maybe she'll come around.) The next episode is gong to blur the lines somewhat — I'll be projecting stuff I was doing last week into the story.

    FM, one of the things my mother-in-law and I talked about on the way to the hospital was the rationing system during WWII. Her mom (into her 90s) still has some ration books/stamps from then. I'd like to borrow them long enough to scan & post them. How would the rest of the world fare? Well, Africa might be able to get enough fuel to run their generators for starters. ;-)

  4. !! If you got to the Yipe!, then you got it! And I'm glad I asked. I've always taken your word that Planet Georgia exists. But, after reading your fiction it occurred to me that with your writing skills you are totally capable of inventing it.

    I'm really glad I asked, though -- because it's nice to know that you are YOU & not an invention or persona.

    I think it would be great if Daughter Dearest stopped by with her views.

    Oh, and I've got my great aunt's ration cards. In a very nice leather ration-card-case.

  5. Heh, I've often said that reality is stranger than fiction. At least my reality is. :-P


  6. I hope you never get tired of hearing people tell you how real this seems, because wow, it does.
    One thing that really makes it seem so is that you add certain details that ring totally true--like in this one the guy who didn't have any money on him. It's real-life stuff like that, that we can just see happening! Kudos, again.

  7. Thanks, Nancy. Coming from you makes it even more powerful....

    People forget stuff all the time — I don't know if my office has a higher incidence or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if we're fairly average. I've forgotten my wallet a couple of times, the guy across from me left his laptop at home once, people leave paperwork and all sorts of stuff in the sleepy rush to work.


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