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Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 09.26.05
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

High oil prices? It's a gas!

The price of gas and oil may be at heart-palpitating highs but there's no reason why we can't make the best of it. What say we turn this energy crisis into an energy Christmas?

First, we'll all be less likely to drive our cars, which is good for the environment and our communities. I'm particularly excited about high gas prices if it keeps the yahoos from racing up and down my street in their souped up cars with no regard for the safety of children, pets. and glaring 39-year-olds in their boxers.

If only there was a sudden spike in the cost of baseball hats and baggy pants, I'd be a happy man who would no longer harbor fantasies about lining the road with thumbtacks.

Less automobile use will also be easier on our transportation infrastructure network. (That's a fancy way of saying "roads;" I'm paid by the word, you know.)

For instance, there will be fewer potholes and less need to pay seventeen government workers to gather round each aforementioned pothole to pour highly ineffective cold-patch asphalt into it, run back and forth over it a few times with their truck and then go on strike.

Our reluctance to use our car for any great distance will make us more likely to shop at home, thereby supporting our small-town economies, which for years have lost business to the WalMarts and McDonald's in the cities. A stronger local economy will create more housing, a larger population base and in turn more business. Eventually our communities will become large enough to get our very own WalMart and McDonald's.

Because traveling will become a luxury, we'll learn to appreciate our neighbours more. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder. It'll be just like when we were little and a trip to Grandma's house a half hour away was a big deal. Can you imagine the day when your kids will get all excited when you say, "Hey, gang, let's go to Ayer's Cliff!"

Neither can I, but still…

The search for alternative transportation will also help Canada's burgeoning bicycle industry, not to mention the bicycle winter-tire industry.

High gas prices prices will increase the cost of air travel. That means fewer people will be tempted to fly to Vegas to see Céline Dion, which will be good all-around for humanity (although this may make her start crying again on "Larry King" and talking about kayaks and pod people, and that's just not pretty).

Yes, we may have to pay more for our vegetables this winter due to increased trucking costs. But we'll find substitutes. For instance, instead of putting that California greenhouse-grown tomato in your salad next February, you can get the same texture and flavour by using diced Styrofoam insulation.

Keeping thermostats lower this winter will bring families closer together - literally. Huddling for warmth will force parents and their children to have meaningful dialogue for the first time in their lives. This will have the added benefit of making Dr. Phil obsolete.

On the down side, the energy crisis will spawn new pick-up lines like "Hey, baby, wanna come back to my place and create some friction?"

The high price of oil and gas will finally compel auto makers to get serious about making a car that runs on unwanted waste matter like bio-energy, discarded dryer parts, and "American Idol" CDs.

In terms of the economy, the increased demand for alternative energy sources will generate upswings in market share for non-petrolium-based resources, effectively leveling the playing field for producers and vendors.

In other words, the woodlot owners can now price-gouge just like the oil companies.

And finally, high gas prices? Another excuse not to mow the lawn.

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