I don't remember the day I fell in love with my husband. I remember the instant, what he did that made me realize I was in love with him, but I don't remember the day otherwise. Forrest Gump said, "You know it's funny what a young man recollects? 'Cause I don't remember bein' born. I don't recall what I got for my first Christmas and I don't know when I went on my first outdoor picnic. But I do remember the first time I heard the sweetest voice in the wide world." Like most people, I remember the dates of important things: first dates, anniversaries of certain things, the day I got my dog (December 30, 2005), the day I got my second dog (September 16, 2007), my wedding day, etc. ad nauseum. This doesn't (and shouldn't) surprise most people.
I am shocked, however, at my ability to remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when gas prices hit new highs. I remember the exact moment I first saw gas over $2, then $3, and today, $4. I was a first-year teacher in the spring of 2004 when it hit $2. I was driving home from school on a beautiful sunny afternoon, and the gas station across the street said $2.04; it had said $1.97 before school. I had just moved to the "big city" in the summer of 2005 to take a new teaching job when it hit $3. Patrick and I had been watching the prices steadily rise, and there was a gas station about a block from my new apartment. I had said, "No way will it hit $3." It did one night on my way home from a shift as a waitress at Grizzly's. It has hovered between those two and slighly above for three years now. Now today, my first day of summer vacation, a tenured teacher with a renewed license and everything, will be forever remembered as the day gas hit $4. I had plans with two of my sisters in law to shop for reunion t-shirts and have lunch. En route to the shirt store (only 3 miles away) I saw $3.99 (yikes! I thought), $3.89 (oh, good, some sensibility), and then $4.09 (Holy Shit! What happened to 3.89?). The next two gas stations I saw were also 4.09. (This is the city; I did indeed pass five gas stations in only three miles.)
It's sad. I don't understand it, but I don't need to. It's a reality that none of us can escape. Even if you don't drive, you pay for it in everything else. One of my goals for the summer is not to drive as often. I will drive to the dog park (because walking the dogs to get there is tooooo hard); I will drive to the grocery store (because a backpack only holds so much); I will drive when I need not to be sweaty from biking. And I suppose I'll drive when something is just too far to peddle to, but I don't intend on there being too many of these. This will include more one-stop shopping, planning in advance, and general motivation. I am up to the challenge. Are you?