Getting Gas in the Brave New (Bicycle) World

Dare I complain about such unpopular things as cars and gasoline stations?

Certainly I dare to, but I note that I risk having the vocal and verbose bike mafia on my tail. Luckily they are no match to keep up with my car.

That’s right.

I’m still a driver and in most modern circles in the neighborhoods these days people look at you like you’ve committed a crime to still own a car. Well, the fact of the matter is I do – and I believe a lot of other people do as well – and despite the loud screams for more bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure at the cost of cars and parking…people in the city continue to drive.

People still drive four or five blocks.

The contractors we all hire that pour into the neighborhood every morning – they have to drive, too.

Driving is here to stay, sorry to say.

And if you don’t want to drive, that’s fine with me.

I do, and that’s not wrong, but it’s becoming increasingly harder.

That’s because there isn’t much driving going on without a place to get gas.

I read this week that another gas station in the Fenway is going to the developers – yet another hotel. Other gas stations down there have disappeared too.

It’s only a matter of time before more and more disappear to the point where we have only one or two stations left in the city. The land is just more valuable than he business. Plus, all of our gas stations in the heart of Boston stink. The prices are woefully inflated, and they never have the window squeegee. I always like to have something to do while the gas is pumping. (On a side note, God bless the person who was behind re-instituting the switch that holds the gas pump so you don’t have to stay out there and hold the lever. They had it for years, and suddenly it disappeared for about a decade. Those were some cold, uncomfortable times having to sit out there in the dead of winter and hold the gas lever. Did anyone else loath that as much as I did?)

I already try to time my fill-ups with jaunts outside of town. All the good gas stations are outside the city or on the fringes.

I guess that’s the plan.

No gas, no go.

Perhaps that’s part of the plan.

  • • •   •

Speaking of such things, the overall plan for public “facilities” has also changed in the downtown area dramatically. The need for a public restroom has never been greater, but the availability has never been scarcer.

This is all a direct result of the rise in petty crime and the opiate epidemic. No storeowner or public building can risk having an open door to the bathroom, lest someone die, overdose or do something totally inappropriate. One only needs to wander into the Back Bay Station bathroom, which has truly become a Caligula’s Den.

So today, to use the facilities – even at an establishment – one has to learn confusing codes or go up and confess your private situation to get a key. Some places now have a button you push that’s hooked up to a camera. Someone on the other end, I guess, evaluates whether your intentions are good or not; and based on that, they decide to either let you in or deny you access.

Consider that, some anonymous person on the other side of a camera is charged with determining the sincerity of one’s need for personal relief based  on a mug shot.

I guess I’m going to have to be sure to comb my hair more often.

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