Thursday, September 11, 2008
The Rush Begins
As Hurricane Ike churns across the Gulf of Mexico, the mad rush has begun. People in south east Texas (especially the Houston-Katy Metroplex area) are, for the third time, scrambling to buy gas, water, food, batteries, and other necessary supplies. I was in a chill mood considering the last two storms were basically false alarms. According to the reports, Ike is supposed to hit land roughly tomorrow night/Saturday morning. I decided Thursday morning would be an okay time to get all my preparations done. I expected a small crowd, but obviously thousands of other people were thinking like me. My first clue was when I drove past two service stations. The shell was empty and the Mobil across the street (all this in Fort Bend County) was crowded. My fuel gauge was at a quarter of a tank. I started getting worried. I need to fill my tank to last me the weekend. I'm not evacuating. All my driving is going to consist of going to and from work the next few days. I make to the HEB off Hwy 99. I pull into a line. There are lines behind every pump. The parking lot of the store is packed. I sit back and snap some pictures. I have to remember that patience is the word here. Yet it is hard to be patient when stupid people are around. For example, anyone coming out of the store should realize the gas station is crowded and find another way to exit the parking lot. Yet, people kept lining up (they were not there to buy gas) to get out of the parking lot. I then watched another woman, who was about to fuel up (waiting on another car) realize her fuel tank was on the other side of the car. So, she pulls out of line and turns around. When it is her turn to pull up to the pump, she hits her gas and backs into a pole, taking out one of her tail lamps. I shake my head. Suburbanites (especially Katy suburbanites) have the survival and tactical instinct of a dung heap. After 20 minutes it was my turn. I pulled in, handled my business, and was out in three minutes. I felt that the gas pump was not the place to pop my hood and check my oil, or load my trunk, or other tasks like that. I then pulled into the store. Talk about mad house. I grabbed whatever I thought I might need. I already have 2 cases of water at the house, but managed to snag a third case. It took probably 30 minutes waiting in a line. The lines went into the aisles, almost to the back of the store. I figured people would be rushing at the counter. Wrong. Most people were leisure, talked on their phones, one woman tied up a line for about 10 minutes with a cantaloupe in one hand, and a stack of coupons in the other. Once again, no fore thought. I just found out that I will be working 12 hour shifts for the next couple of days. I'm not surprised really. All it means is I need to scramble to get everything else I need to take care of done today. I will try to snap some more pictures. In the meantime, anyone down here, be careful and stay safe.