I’ll never forget the first time I had to fill up a car with gas. I was 18 years old. Maybe I should also start with letting you know that I had zero interest in driving. In fact, while most kids couldn’t wait to turn 16 and get their first car or even just a license to borrow the family vehicle – it didn’t excite me in the least.
In February of 1998 – I turned 18 years old. In October of that year after a move back to the mid-west, it was finally time to grow up and learn to drive. I’d taken driving courses as part of my high school education in southern California so I wasn’t starting from scratch. We were required to have at least four hours with an instructor outside of school hours – in addition to a semester long class.
The guy I wound up with was nothing short of a drunk opportunist who made us drive around town on Saturday mornings while he ran his errands. He was also known, or the rumor was, that he had a habit of slamming back a drink or two in between classes. One time we took a detour to his modular home subdivision — aka: trailer park – so he could pick up some things he needed to get dry cleaned. Interestingly enough – it was the first and last time I’ve been to a trailer park.
Once we were even pulled over by the police as we practiced our parallel parking outside of our local community college. Usually – it was three of us that would take turns driving. I was in the back seat when we were pulled over. For some reason, our instructor decided to open the car door. A voice, loudly blared on the police car’s speakers: “Do not get out of the vehicle. I repeat, do NOT get out of the vehicle!” Now I started to freak out. Were we all going to jail?
As if the guy getting out of the car during a traffic stop wasn’t dumb enough – turns out, he didn’t have any papers on him at all for being a driving instructor. No sign in the window, no license, no nothing. Okay, now I was convinced we were all going to the Corona Police Department – or at the very least, going to be walking all the way back home.
The officer must have seen the whites of our eyes and the sweat dripping from our foreheads as he agreed to let us go so long as we headed back to school where we’d be picked up by our parents.
Perhaps that was one of the reasons I stayed away from driving until it became a must.
As I mentioned, I remember the first time I had to fill up with gas. I’m 34 years old. It will sound strange – but the price of gas was only .79 cents. That seems like a number you’d see back in the 60’s but it was 1998. The gas station no longer exists where I’d get my Dad’s Toyota filled up – and neither do gas prices under $1.00.
At least not yet.
Gas in Saint Louis, Missouri is under $2.00 and continues to fall. While I’m certainly happy – I’m also reminded that it’s still too expensive. I hope the folks that have been producing oil in the United States find a way to keep producing despite the price drop and refuse to let the middle eastern countries screw us over once again.
It’s a battle of who is going to blink first. My hope is that people will finally wise up this time around and realize these low prices should be the norm. But, not unless we actually produce here at home.