Hot Air and Gas

Believe you’ve got an election coming up over there in Britain. Or at least, so I’ve heard, courtesy of the BBC web-site; that little item of news has not, so far, been deemed deserving of any coverage at all in any of the regular American media. Can’t say I’m sorry: Blair or Hague – what a delightful choice! Er, Hague is still leader of the Tories, isn’t he? Admittedly, was never sure on that point, even when I was living in Tulse Hill. At least British elections only last a month – here, the campaigning goes on for a year or more, and the post-vote lawsuits take almost as long. You’ve hardly brought in one president, before he heads out on the baby-kissing trail once again.

Another difference is well illustrated by the fact I was collapsing in a laughter at a phone-in radio show, where the presenter was outraged that the cost of gasoline (a.k.a. petrol) might go as high as $2/gallon! The horror! The horror! Even allowing for the fact that American gallons are smaller than British ones – because their pints are, at a mere 16 fl.oz. – this would certainly see riots in the UK, but only because, at that price, everyone would be rushing to fill up their tanks, baths, and every other container capable of holding fuel. There was even talk of a one-day fuel boycott, which I’m sure would work every bit as well as it did in Britain e.g. not at all, because even those people who took part just filled up in advance.

I don’t think refinery blockades would work either, simply because many Americans regard the ability to drive as a god-given right, and it is a necessity in Arizona due to the “somewhat limited” – I’m being very kind – public transport. Still, in a land where gas-guzzling cars are a staple [that advert in Robocop wasn’t much of an exaggeration], it was amusing to hear people saying things barely short of “they can take my Sports Utility Vehicle when they pry my cold, dead hands off the steering-wheel”. Think there must be some part of the American Constitution which enshrines the right to bear four-wheel drives and, clearly, no-one here remembers 1973.

On the other hand, there is at least a great deal of four-wheel drive suitable territory here, and unlike London, plenty of room to park anything bigger than a gnat’s arse. Even I have got used to driving a car you climb up into, to the extent that a “normal” (by British standards) car feels more like a go-cart. You also have to factor into gas mileage, the essential need for air-conditioning – 104 degrees is the forecast for today – which gobbles up so much fuel that certain steep slopes have a warning on them to turn off the A/C before beginning the ascent. Frankly, I’d rather run out of petrol and career hopelessly back down, than lose the cooling.

I can laugh, in part because I’m lucky to have a job that requires a daily commute of approximately 30 feet, from the bedroom to the office. And I’m pleased to report that Trash City – or the financially sound bit which sells beads, anyway – just had a banner week, with five grand in sales for the first time. We’re getting close to the point where Chris can quit her day job and work full-time on our plot to conquer the world through jewellery components. This is much-anticipated – not least by Chris herself, for obvious reasons, even if it’s a prospect I find more than a little scary. I am of a pessimistic persuasion, and so am certain that if we do go full-time, the bubble will immediately burst, and I’ll have to go work in McDonald’s. D’you want beads with that?