(Gulp)

Pardon me while I wax terrified…

Tonight I’ve been doing research for the blog I ghost-write. I felt a frisson of dread run through my entire body as my weary brain passed over this:

Crude oil prices have hit the $100 mark for the first time, and have hovered near there since. That’s more than twice the price of crude only five years ago. Heating oil prices will be higher almost immediately, and consumers will face $4 per gallon gas in less than two months.” (Blanche Evans, Realty Times, 4th January 2008)

$4 a gallon for gas? I can hardly believe that this is real.  Call me selfish and micro-concerned, but all I can see is my poor mother stooped over our dining room table, resignedly writing a check for what must be the most astronomically, bone-chillingly high energy bill she’s ever seen, and the resulting stress and tears. With energy costs this high and job loss sure to follow suit, I can hardly imagine what my poor parents–and most of the Americans I know (the majority of them middle class and doing the best they can, which is rarely enough)–are going through. I am worried. I am distantly afraid, and every time my brain begins to wrap itself around what a mess is brewing I feel it back away from that murky cusp and clamp down on the here and now: my green comforter, my mother’s visit in March, the fact that school starts next week and I will be paid at the end of the month.

My God, am I lucky here in Spain, making a paycheck that may not permit me to spend lavishly, but allows me to pay my rent and electricity and internet bills, to go out to dinner with my friends and pay for groceries, movies, and the occasional splurge at H&M. My poor American compatriots. I am afraid for the United States. Most of all I am afraid for my mom and dad. They are getting old and getting tired. Neither one of them can afford to work more than they already do, and the likelihood of either one securing higher-paying work at this point is unlikely. Jesus.

I’ve never been a religious person but I feel like now might be a decent time to start applying to a higher power for some divine bones to be tossed in the general direction of North America. Though, considering the  level of unconcern with which we’ve treated our planet, our lavish consumption of unrenewable resources and the general havoc we Americans have wrought upon our environment and our fellow man, I’d totally understand if not the smallest of heavenly wishbones could be spared.

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