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The Tally Ho

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Back to School

Here in Chicago, good gas prices are only about fifteen cents above what they were pre-Katrina: $3.09, up from my most recent fill-up of $2.94 the Saturday before the storm. On Wednesday, driving to a site, I found one station on Chicago Ave. that was selling regular unleaded at $3.75, and another one about a mile and a half away that was still at $2.99. Neither shop had a significant line. It amazes me how lightly we are affected by the Southern economy. I know that the entire Southeast saw shortages and partial delivery; so where was our gas coming from?

Amazingly, my employer has already responded by raising my mileage rate. That's just one reason why I love them. It's a good thing, too, since I have been to six different sites this week, with five more school meetings scheduled for next week. I still get a nerdy thrill out of the beginning of the school year, with all the new backpacks and shiny binders. Our city is only slated to have about 1500 displaced persons, and I haven't heard that any of the neighbor kids will be hanging out in my classrooms. If the topic comes up at any of the meetings this month, however, you can bet I'll be buying them school supplies. As long as I get to come along to the office supply store when the purchases are made.

The hurricane news seems pretty comprehensive already, and I hate to jump into the echo chamber. I have a tough time comprehending the magnitude of disaster, since it is so far out of the scope of my personal experience. I am embarrassed to admit, I am almost as shocked to realize that the Cafe du Monde is closed as I am to read about the corpses left out on the street. One relates to my personal experience; the other sounds like a horror movie, and I've spent years telling myself that those things just weren't real. That may be the problem with lots of folks in this country: we watch pretend carnage and reassure ourselves that it was a story and didn't really happen. Then when we're faced with actual carnage, either far away or in the state next door, our minds tend to ask whether it's just a story someone made up. The Guardian is discounting stories of violence, at the same time it revels in the irony of Homeland Security's pronouncement that September is "National Preparedness Month". One editorial also states the fact/makes the argument that "The US should not need help." He's right; we shouldn't. I am shamed. I am also ashamed that women in need, once again, are expected to acqueisce to unreasonable demands if they want to get rescued. Even if it only happened once, it's horrifying.

Wells is stepping back from the Tally Ho, so if you've got questions and comments, send 'em my way. I'm striving for a better balance of quality and quantity over here. Are the other Villagers still reading? Speak now, or forever hold your peace.

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