I knew I would get your attention by paraphrasing this 1964 musical hit ‘Let me tell you about the birds and the bees’ by Jewel Akins and Dean Martin; today’s version goes like this:
Let me tell you about the gas and the flea, and the flowers and the berries, and their price well above what I can afford.
This column is about you and me, about Mister Anybody and Monsieur Nobody; we are so common and from the same mould that what happens to you also happens to happen to me and to a zillion other Joe Blows like us.
It all started on a Tuesday morning, beautiful pre-summer weather, ideal conditions to either mow the lawn or head to the Lachute flea market; why not do both, as every duty well done needs its reward, doesn’t it? Mow first, shop after. Mower needs gas and car gas indicator is running in the red zone, so heading for a gas station first is a necessity: it doesn’t matter where, today, they all seem to agree on a uniform price of 2,04.9$ per litre, so might as well go to the closest one to home in order to avoid spending more of that liquid than necessary; while my hamster is still trying to figure out the purpose of .9 of a ¢ (lucky he’s not running on fuel…), two 10-litre gas tanks in the trunk of my SUV (supposedly a gas-saving vehicle I was told when purchased…), I hit the first gas station which is about three kilometres from home and wonder how much this field trip is going to cost me in gas! So, fill up the car, then fill up the two tanks, load them up and walk nonchalantly towards the cash register. ‘Hi-bonjour Sir!’ says the clerk, ’How is your morning so far?’ all the while tapping my credit card onto the terminal. ‘Great so far!’ ‘Thank you Sir, and have a great rest of the day!’ Walking back to my vehicle, I just reflexively check my receipt before filing it in the glove compartment and notice distractively a 6 followed by a 2 and smile to myself thinking that 62 dollars was pretty cheap considering gas supplies, shortages and prices lately. On second thought, I wonder to myself that something is not right… ‘The terminal must have made a mistake…’ But I don’t dare go back inside the store and tell the clerk. I keep my smile for myself and head home, unload the gas cans and fill up the lawnmower; just as I am about to crank it, my wife shows up, Ipad in hand, and says ‘Did you just spend 162$ at the gas station?’ My smile froze then. And then the news announcer on the radio station, using his formal solemn voice, threw another uppercut my way: ‘Gas prices are expected to soar to 2.35$ this summer!’ My hamster came out of its lethargy, realized that today was June 15th with summer only six days away, and my smile came back to life as I answered my wife ‘But dear, didn’t you just hear that newsman? I just saved us .30.1¢ per litre! How about that!’ Knock-out!
With the money saved, we headed for the flea market and were able to afford a flat of delicious local strawberries and a dozen mini-donuts from the donut-truck! Great day overall: great savings, mouth-watering purchases, no traffic on the 148… except for the parking lot attendant that had increased his fee by one dollar! My hamster didn’t react to this one…still trying to figure out the .9 of a ¢ must have taken its toll on him. But it doesn’t matter really…Everyone’s got to a make a living. Life’s got to be good for all!