What is this 1973?
So, some ass-hat computer geek terrorists messed up a gas pipeline in Eastern USA. This caused a gas shortage as people immediately ran to fill up their tanks. Having a full tank soon became as prestigious as it was getting the vaccine, or in having toilet paper last April. As someone recently told me,
“We’ve gone from no TP to no BP!”
Ordinarily this shortage would not have bothered the Cranky family. We don’t usually drive that far and the shortage is expected to be short term, so we could ride it out easily. We have two cars and they are usually gassed up to at least a half tank. We ascribe to the theory that low gas in the tank is not good for the car.
This was no ordinary week. We have for months planned a trip from Jersey to South Carolina to visit my brother, then up to Atlanta to visit Mrs. C’s Uncle, and finally to Chapple Hill NC to see my SIL, niece and family, and my daughter and family. Lots of driving, lots of gas.
The first leg of the trip was a stopover in Lumberton NC. We topped off our tank just outside of Richmond Va. And had plenty of gas to reach Lumberton. At the Lumberton exit we stopped for gas so we could reach our South Carolina destination the next day. We needed to travel 160 miles and had gas in the tank for 140 miles.
The station had diesel. I’ve tried that before by accident…Diesel es No Bueno. The next station had “No Product.” We tried one more that was just off the beaten path. Except for the diesel pumps they all said “No Product.”
Crap! We couldn’t be driving all over Lumberton and use the gas we did have. We couldn’t spend several nights in Lumberton…well we could, but that sure was not the plan. Maybe we could try and make it to SC on the gas we had and my brother could greet us with a few extra gallons if we did not make it. I did not like any options.
“Wait!” Mrs. C yelled as we pulled out of the third empty station, “That Toyota is not getting diesel, they take regular…the no product signs are on the Premium and Plus options, 87 octane is fine!”
Yes, Mrs. C saved the day at the last second and we were able to top off the tank giving us enough gas to make it to SC with a half tank to search for an open station for our next trip leg.
Once we made it to my brothers in the Charleston area, we passed only one gas station and it was “Out of Product.” We had a few days stay before we head off for Atlanta and the shortage was predicted to end by the time we left, but I was not expecting to rest easy for those few days. We had gas for 190 miles, Atlanta was 310 miles away.
Not sure of how we might make it, suddenly my brother came racing in from his car. He had made a short shopping trip and saw a tanker filling the nearby stations tank.
“Quick, lines started to form as soon as people saw the tanker. You may not be able to get gas tomorrow!”
We did get gas, enough for 390 miles which easily gets us to Atlanta and by then the situation should be easing…I hope.
What is this, 1973?
Well, we finally did complete our trip and are safe in New Jersey. It took at least three stations each to make four different refills. We developed a new gas station term, BOP, or bag on pump, indicating “No gas, go away.”
This hacking thing is scary. I hope the country considers this a shot across the bow and first double down on protecting our systems (we have smart people too), then be able to retaliate if needed, and finally convince governments shielding (or aiding) these computer thugs that allowing and not shutting them down is a very bad idea.