04262019Fri
Last updateFri, 12 Apr 2019 2pm

Columns

Quest for gas

What a week! I never imagined that a seemingly insignificant error in judgment would make me change my wicked ways of contributing to global warming.

pg21aIt started last Friday as I’m chugging home after running errands in Chapala. I haven’t yet grasped that the gas shortage plaguing metro Guadalajara is quickly spreading our way. Spotting a line of cars stretching a half block west of the service station in Riberas del Pilar, I pull off the road to snap a few photos. I briefly contemplate crossing over to fill the tank of my gas-guzzler. Anxious to wind down for some R&R, I blow it off, thinking mejor mañana. Wrong!

Next day I head back to find the gas line now extended two blocks from the pumps in either direction. Oh well, no choice. I’m down to just under a quarter of a tank. Cool and collected, I know I’m for an exercise in patience.

My first thought is to grab a notebook to chronicle the experience. I fumble in the console between the front seats for a writing utensil.  It’s jammed packed with stuff. Why not kill time cleaning it out?

I pull out two pairs of sunglasses, tissues, lip balm, hand cream, a bottle of disinfectant, scissors, a couple of screw drivers, an emergency sewing kit, post-its, business cards, an ancient pack of breath mints and other miscellanea piled on top of one ball point pen.   

I scribble down notes as minutes tick by while I creep forward. Here comes a driver from the opposite direction boldly recording a cell phone video of the string of waiting cars. Hey lady, better keep your eyes on the road!

Stationary motorists ahead step out of their cars to stretch their legs or purchase brewskies at 7-11.  I wonder, where are the enterprising Mexicanos wandering along to hawk food and drink to a captive market? Right on cue a guy walks by with a tray of bottled water and cups of agua fresca for sale.

Meanwhile, I watch the needle on my gas gauge drop towards the red line. An hour and a half into the ordeal I’ve advanced barely past the next corner, still a block away from my destination. The motor stalls, the sign of doom. Tank’s empty.

Daughter and son-in-law come to the rescue with a big gasoline container. I hoof it down to Pemex, with the manager into selling me five liters of fuel on the condition I go to the end of the line for a fill-up. Hell, no. I drive straight home where I decide to stay parked until the crisis is over.

Monday I hear there’s fuel at the station closest to home. I grab the gas can, load it into my granddaughter’s little red wagon and start walking. The gas station guys turn me away. For safety reasons, they’re prohibited from filling my bidón. I make a mental note of that new word in my Spanish vocabulary.

FYI, don’t try to buy one these days. Local hardware stores have run out of anything larger than the five liter size. The concept of shortage is taking on new dimensions.