A good day for a riot to bring us all together
It was a beautiful day for a riot. The sun was the kind of bright that gives the High Country flowers their magnificent colors. There were a few clouds streaking across the sky, and the air still carried a warmth that, if you live in the mountains long enough, you know will soon be gone as the summer turns to fall.I was relaxing into the day. It was my day off, and my family and I were heading to a birthday party for a friend of ours.Then everything changed in an angry instant. Well, that might be an exaggeration since a full-fledged riot never occurred, but it was definitely the start of one. The sort of miniriot began, like so many do, in a place without hope, love or compassion. Where poor people are constantly crushed by the wealthy, and where they weep with fear. It started at a gas station.
My car needed gas, and just as I was putting the nozzle into the tank and feeling my wallet empty when one of the other guys also pumping gas spoke up.”Can you believe this @$%$,” he said loud enough to wake me out of my sticker shock. “This is a load of #@$$. You know this price hike has nothing to do with the hurricane. This gas has been processed and in the tanks for weeks or months and they’re just plain gouging us.””Yeah,” I said.It was then that the guy standing across from me piped in.”I can’t believe they can get away with this. It’s the oil companies doing it to us again.”
“Yeah. Yeah,” I said.Now normally I’m not the kind of guy that talks to other people while I’m pumping gas. Actually, I believe that getting gas should be a solitary, silent task, much like riding in an elevator, but listening to these guys scream got me going.Here were people that felt the same way I did. Here were my fellow citizens angry enough to yell in public. And I was right there with them. I was ready to take it all down. And for the first time in my life I was becoming part of a mob.Since I’d never experienced mob rule before I found it kind of neat. Being a part of something bigger than myself and all. And let’s face it, anyone that knows me knows that I’m not a group kind of guy. Except for a brief stint as a Parrot Head, I’ve never been much for crowds.Like many Americans, however, I have plenty of reasons for descending into a mob mentality at this stage in our history. The main one being I am frustrated at the cost of gas, and I also know that the outrageous price of fuel stems from the fact that companies like Exxon have been sticking it to us for more than a year.
But let’s face it, in this country it’s not considered price gouging if you’re friends with the president.Of course, now the government is telling everyone that gas prices will soon be dropping, but at least for me, this will bring some sadness. I will, for a while, remember the day when pumping gas brought me together with my fellow citizens and made me feel a part of something.Even if that something was an angry mob that did nothing but shout into our gas tanks.Andrew Gmerek writes a Friday column. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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