Monday, September 05, 2005

The world has changed

I lived in a very different place when I last posted here. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, I was astonished to see the effect on people in my community, so far away from the storm's path. Early last week, rumors of gasoline shortages circulated around Savannah and surrounding towns, causing long lines at convenience stores and near fisticuffs in some places as neighbors jostled with each other to horde their "fair share" of gasoline. One local auto parts store reportedly sold out of gas cans.

Later in the week, Gov. Sonny Perdue suspended the state's gasoline tax, already the lowest in the country. This is, no doubt, a comfort to many people. However, I can't help but think that it rewards the kind of bad behavior described above. Still, there was some good news: I was very pleased to see a full-page ad in Monday's Savannah Morning News, which announced that Publix grocery stores would be adopting energy conservation measures. I hope this will become standard practice.

It's been frustrating to watch local, state and federal officials try to pin on each other responsibility for bungled relief efforts in New Orleans. These blamestorming exercises have also produced sharp criticism of the people who defied mandatory evacuation orders and stayed behind. I'm certain there are some who foolishly remained in the city by choice. For others, though, evacuation simply was not an option. The end of the month, when this hurricane hit, is often a lean time for people who live paycheck to paycheck. It's the time to go on the all Ramen diet or to decide which personal possessions must be taken to the pawnshop. It's not the time to embark on extended road trips with associated expenses for fuel, meals and motel rooms.

What's more, those who stayed in New Orleans surely made the exodus out of the city easier for residents who could afford to evacuate. Every person stranded in the Superdome was one less person evacuees had to compete with for gas, food and lodging. Because they stayed, others were able to escape more quickly.

It has taken longer than I anticipated to get my utility cycle up and running after being hit by a car last week. Only after installing my new front rim did I discover that the rear rim was also bent. I probably would have noticed this earlier, had I not carried the bike home on my shoulder from the scene of the accident. The mechanics at Star Bike worked their magic on the rear rim and I was back in business by the end of the week. At first, I felt a slight wobble and sensed that the right pedal peg might be bent. After about 10 miles I became used to these flaws and ceased to notice them. The bicycle is truly as good as new.

On the way back from Jones Red and White market yesterday morning, I had to brake sharply to avoid what would have been a wonderfully exotic traffic accident. A southbound cyclist riding against traffic, a man on a zero turning radius riding mower crossing Habersham Street diagonally at mid block, a northbound 32-foot Tiffin Allegro Bay motor home, and your narrator all converged on the same stretch of pavement at the same moment in time.

1 comment:

jimdowman@xtra.co.nz said...

Auntie Ann just found out what a blogger is... an enjoyed your writing.
Hear you are camping freak too now...
Will try to include you when we write up our trip to PNG and India.
Adam's BD is wednesday 12th.
Love you guys,
ann and kiwi jim