Column by J1 Reporter Elleiana Green
Intermittent storms pass through all day as you sit in your fourth period class. Looking at your agenda, you know that you have a long day ahead of you once you exit the big doors of your school. Unsure of how you will accomplish everything assigned to you, you’re interrupted by the crack of lightning outside. Could this day get any worse?
Unable to pay attention for any longer, you spend the remainder of your class staring at the clock waiting for the little hand to pass three. When it does, you’re the first one out of the building. After dodging every puddle, you arrive at your car. You think to yourself, I’m alone.
Turning the key, and starting the engine, a yellow light catches your attention out of the side of your eye. Low fuel, it reads. Great, as if you didn’t have anything else to worry about.
You pull into the cheapest gas station you can find and begrudgingly insert your card to fill up. You watch as the numbers tick up. $5, $12, $26, $40 then finally you hear the pump stop. The rain stops, and you feel a wave of relief as you insert the nozzle back into its slot.
The sun decides to show its face as you turn off the windshield wipers. The same wave of relief washes over you as you realize even though you have a lot on your plate, you no longer have to worry about gas.
On average, every day in the United States, the United States Energy Information Administration projected that 390.8 million gallons of gasoline were consumed by Americans in 2019. Every day, Americans from all over the country set everything chaotic in their lives aside to fill up their tank. Although the price of gas weighs a heavy burden on paychecks, the feeling of having a full tank becomes the one constant thing in times of stress. Not only this, but gasoline serves as a symbol for the hours of work you put in.
It reminds us, every week, of the hours of work that allowed you to fill up. Whether it be taking hours out of your weekend to babysit for the bratty neighborhood kids who boss you around all night or picking up an extra shift at a job that makes you want to quit every time you clock out, filling up reminds us every time that no matter what means we take to afford gas, they’re worth it in the end. It gives our jobs purpose and provides us security until our tanks run low again.
Taking a moment to stop and realize the beauty of a full tank enables us to realize that everything we’re doing serves a greater purpose and will continue to for the rest of our lives. It allows us to challenge ourselves and our responsibilities as gas prices will later evolve into car payments and mortgages. Although filling up can feel like a burden, it teaches us how to budget our money and time to afford necessities for our busy lifestyles. No matter how stressful things in life can become, knowing that at the very least you have a full tank of gas to get you where you need to go, keeps us all going, and reminds us of the hours of work it took us to get to that point.