This entry is for the Fairview man at the gas station this afternoon who was driving an SUV so large that my car literally fits inside of it. True fact, I looked it up. Said gentleman decided to take out his displeasure with the current gas prices out on the counter clerk. A bit underserved I say. Given the multitude of bumper stickers on his car, I could pretty much tell you anything about him: lives in Fairview, has kids at Villa Maria, belongs to one of the local yacht clubs, a suspicious sticker that I might assume is his place of business, and a “W ’04” sticker. But aside from that bit of info, I’ll let you remain anonymous, you jerk, although you deserve a public shaming for yelling at counter clerk who maybe makes $7 an hour. As if she personally sets the gas prices.

So this is for you, jackass…

Prior to living in Erie, Sailor Man and I lived on an island off the coast of Maine. We walked everywhere: to the boat, to work, to the stores, to the gym. We learned to be concise and organized, packing everything we needed for the day into a backpack and trudging out not matter the weather. We had a truck (mostly for the yearly haul of firewood to the island) parked somewhere in town and after not driving it for months at a time, I often forgot where in the garage I left it last. I went through shoes like no-body’s business.

Living in Erie, that type of life is impossible, but we are determined to maintain a one car lifestyle. It wasn’t easy at first last winter, we would leave early and one of us would drop the other off at work and then pick them up after. We are normally really good at grouping all our errands together in one trip and if not, well, whatever it was we needed waits for another time. Even trying to limit the driving, we were still filling the tank twice a month.

We switched off the driving duties, back and forth, until I started school and then Sailor Man started walking to work or riding his bike when weather permitted. It got to the point where he wanted nothing to do with the car and that was fine by me as I have to drive all over Hell’s half acre to get anywhere in this town and navigate the numerous lights.

Case in point: it is one and one half mile from my house to my work. If I don’t leave the house in the morning at exactly 7:48, I miss one light that changes the length of time to get to work from 7 minutes to 20. Ridiculous. Ridiculous that there are 7 lights and three stop signs within a mile and a half. 23 stop lights and who knows how many stops sign between my house and school and that’s only a little under three miles.

But I digress.  

We finally broke down a few months ago and bought a new car. Not these monstrous and unnecessary Urban Assault Vehicles everyone here is so fond of (aka the Poor Man’s Sports Car), but a small, compact, gas efficient and terribly cute little Toyota. I can’t begin to tell you how much we save on gas and how damn easy it is to park that little guy. The car gets through the month on one tank which is pretty darn good deal at $30.

We are selling the house now and our next move will more than likely be in the neighborhood around school. This choice is based on the efficiency of time and gas, and where local shopping is convenient and not terribly far from work. While I would love to live in the country, these are the trade offs for tying to live responsibly, doing our part to decrease traffic, use less gas, and a little sheer laziness as I really, really, hate to drive.

So to all the people who indulge in house-in-country-syndrome (particularly you, Fairview Man), while you work downtown, have a boat in the bay, and school your kids at opposite ends of the unvierse all while driving your fuel-hogging Ford Expedition: stop bitching about the price of gas. How much you use and eventually pay for it is entirely your decision.