(Toledo, OH) Since taking the graduate student vow of poverty a few years ago (a phrase, by the way, I believe I have coined - check Google), I have had to make some concessions in my lifestyle. One of these has been the obvious decision to forego new vehicles in favor of used.
Friends, I drive hoopties, and I am a certified hooptiholic (think I coined another one - I'm on a roll). Alas, though I love the trusty-but-rusty genre, they do require a lot of additional attention.
My current hooptymobile is a Saturn SL, and I believe that the acronym stands for "Slow Leak," as it always seems to need five or ten pounds of air in one of its tires. I drove to the 7-Eleven store on Secor and Laskey Roads yesterday with two quarters in my pocket to fill a tire that had wasted away to an especially dire 15 pounds of pressure.
Imagine my surprise when I saw that air had jumped from 50 cents to 75 cents some time in the past two weeks (vacuum services jumped from 75 cents to a dollar). Imagine, too, my irritation when I drove across the street to Speedway, only to find that they had also joined in on the seemingly collusive behavior.
Now I had to drive back home, beg a quarter from my wife, and drive back to the scene of the highway robbery. Had I not been in a hurry, I would have taken out the foot pump I have in the trunk and pocketed the coins.
I can remember a time in the not-so-distant past when air was free, and a friendly service offered by gas stations to its customers. Without delving into a long-winded Marxist analysis about the commodification of air and the inherent vampirism of capitalism, it certainly irritated me that the profit-minded air merchants have ratcheted up the economic pain on the working poor or, in my case, the working not-quite-poor-but-still-pissed-about-a-quarter.