I’m feeling a bit smug today. It’s rare I get to feel that way, I’m far from spectacular in general. But today… today is different.
Because today, while (seemingly) everyone else in the whole of
is sitting, sweltering, swearing, suffering in a looooooong queue of traffic waiting to put £5 worth of petrol in their cars, I have a full tank. Britain
It’s pure fluke; I run my car to empty every time, and then squeeze every last dribble in when I fill it up. I had none left on Saturday, so off I popped to a quiet forecourt. I find it easier to drive economically if I have a firm hold on how many miles I’m getting from each gallon of car juice. Yes, I’m that exciting.
I won’t be “topping up” on a daily basis from now either; as long as I’ve got enough to drive to and from the hospital for the birth I’m happy.
I’ll admit I hadn’t been considering that. It wasn’t until driving somewhere with Mrs L, her looking over at the fuel gauge nervously, me getting ready for a round of petrol pump chicken, that I realised (she told me) I should probably not let it run down to fumes.
So, where in the world is everyone else going that demands they have a full tank on a permanent basis? Nowhere, I assume; but we do love a good panic buy, don’t we? Especially when we’re advised to do it by our government. Makes it all seem a bit more real. Helps the economy too, which the cynic in me suspects is no coincidence.
The downside of the smugness is that I feel left out of the furore. The camaraderie of the queue is missing from my life. So I’ve been thinking about some other things that I can panic buy instead, to be part of the crowd. These are the things I couldn’t live without, things which I’d be a gibbering mess if I couldn’t get hold of:
- Bread (and bread based products) – I’m a complete carb fiend. Bagels, Brioche, Crumpets, Muffins, Pitta, Naan, Granary, White, Wholemeal. I need it. I need sandwiches, I need toast, I need toasted sandwiches. I got all snappy and angry when I made a sandwich last weekend without checking that the bread was fresh. As it fell apart in my hands it took all my strength not to collapse to the floor, Platoon style, and cry “Noooooooooo!” So, yeah, bread.
- An internet connection – not entirely clear on how I’ll panic buy this one. I could, I suppose, phone each of the many ISPs and open an account with them all, sounding fraught as I did so. This one might not work out. But really, HOW did we manage before the internet?
- Shoes – Mrs L is always telling me off for having my shoes on in the house. It makes the carpet grubby. I know this, but I can’t change the habit of a lifetime. Rare are the moments that I don’t have shoes on. I’ve sort of been panic buying these already, or at least it must look that way to any visitor to my house. I have sixteen pairs at the last count, that’s probably unnecessary.
- Dr Pepper – addiction is an ugly word, but an addiction to this filthy fizzy beverage is what I have.
Soon, I imagine, I’ll be adding nappies and earplugs to that list.
Sometimes I wonder what will happen when the inevitable happens and the oil actually runs out. I find myself thinking it’s unfair to bring a child into a world which could go all Mad Max on us at a moment’s notice (imagine the scenes if it wasn’t a strike we were worrying about, but actually not being able to get petrol because there wasn’t any. Carnage. Immediately. It actually worries me, and not because the concept leads to terrible films.) It could happen in my lifetime, let alone that of my child. Somewhere, I hope, there are some people thinking about an alternative, instead of sitting in a queue waiting for what we’ve got at the moment.
In the meantime, seeing as you’re probably reading this on your phone, as you wait for a vacant pump, why not tell me what you couldn’t live without? Except petrol, obviously, I know that.