Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter
Joined: April 1992
||Posted: July 08, 2005, 4:56 pm
Gasoline prices shot up today. I was lucky to top off at $2.099/gallon, and as soon as I finished an attendant put a "pump not working" plastic bag on the unleaded pump I'd just used. I went shopping for supplies at Wal-Mart nearby. Just a short time later where I'd just filled up shot the price up from $2.099/gal to $2.199/gal regular unleaded. Yep, a 10-cents per gallon increase. ALL gas stations are doing it local to us, about a dime increase in the cost per gallon no matter where you go. Triple situation: Tropical Storm Cindy earlier in the week disrupted gas production, the terrorist bombings in London Thursday spooked the oil and gas markets, and Category 4 Hurricane Dennis is likely to cause evacuation of Gulf of Mexico oil rigs and disruptions of petro chemical industries.
Wal-Mart is a roller coaster ride all its own. In addition to putting out back to school supplies already (schools return to session in just a month, August 11 and 12) they are putting out cases of bottled water and batteries. Tuna is disappearing from the shelves. Bottled water in individual bottles as well as gallong jugs is strating to go off the shelves. Appetizing canned goods, such as chili and soup, are still in good supply but people are snatching them up. People are stocking on the non-perishables. Even with the precise landfall of Dennis being three days away and unknown as to where, people are packing it in at Wal-Mart like crazy. And they can never shop in there alone, always has to be at least 1-5 other humans going along. Lines at check out are LONG and SLOW.
No one is saying "mandatory evacuation", yet the officials are encouraging people to take a long weekend in Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and get out while the driving is easy and before the contraflow begins on the Interstates leading out, north and west. So far Interstate traffic is moving freely. But folks are still are "waiting and seeing" if they really do have to leave or not, wondering Dennis' path first before they take the final steps.
My purpose in putting this information is to give you perspective. Don't comment on the nitty gritty, but look at the big picture.
Preparing is a process. Wait too long, and the lines are long and slow and it sucks out your available time to get other things done. Leave early, and the driving hassles associated with evacuations of mass populations are not too bad. Costs go up stocking up on the supplies you wouldn't normally acquire, sure. Even gasoline costs can be affected by market forces and not by gouging.
It does feel like you're dreaming to do this. Life is supposed to be normal, on a Friday families should be shopping for just routine groceries and items. You shop for batteries only if you need a few. You shop for plywood only if you're building something. If you're supposed to be on vacation, it's strange to shop for groceries to hunker down in your hotel room with because you can't eat at your vacation destination as you'd planned to. It's not supposed to be crazy like this. I want to relax, I want to wake up from this dream! You'll think that too. But if you're in Orlando or another hurricane prone area, you know you should take precautions like these. But it feels odd to be doing it.
And it's frustrating, you're right, life wasn't supposed to be like this. It's frustrating to the locals, too. If you are caught in Orlando as a tourist with this same thing going on, know you are not alone. It's either stock up as well as possible or be hungry and thirsty until normal operations resume. You can only suck it in, deal with it, and count this as a travel memory you won't soon forget. You have shelter, and you are with other fellow travellers. All of you will get through it, together, and your host hotel or resort helps you as best as they can. Most of the time, hurricanes aren't blowing through and disrupting people's vacations, livelihoods or home lives. Even with an annual hurricane season, these things are UNusual to happen. So keep perspective as much as possible. It really helps.