21 October 2005

That warm feeling in your shoes

Gas prices are ridiculous. I believe that statement is obvious to anyone who has experienced the recent doubling in the price of gasoline recently. But along with gas, these inflated prices affect important things - like heat. I almost performed a spit-take on the computer today after reading a statement from a self-centered NYC resident about how the "extra $29 a month" (calculated somehow from an average of $350 extra this winter) for heating this winter was nothing to be wasting precious news coverage on.

Sorry, but if you live anywhere that your thermometer is not required to have a -30 F line, then you should shut the hell up about heating prices. I am reasonably well-off financially for the area I live in and I certainly don't complain about the cost of heating my house in the winter since I have insulation, double-pane windows, and electronic thermostat that keeps everything just the way I like it (including hypothermia-inducing cold when I'm at work). Still, the three years I've lived here, I've never failed to gasp when opening the monthly winter propane bill.

Some of my neighbors on the other hand, have been installing wood furnaces and cutting every remotely flammable item off their property to prepare for winter heating costs they won't be able to afford. These are the kind of houses that are insulated with newspaper, or not at all. The windows are "historic", which means that you can feel the draft from several feet away. These people do not have a "daily latte" to give up; they don't have cable TV; they already make their own lunches. They will not get government assistance with their heating. They may (if their pride allows them) rely on the generosity of others who contribute to a shared heating fund at the electric or gas company. Or they may just go without when they get too far behind on their bills and pile on as many clothes and blankets as they can.

In other words, make sure you stay in your crazy world where $350 over the winter isn't almost $100 extra a month, and be aware that the warm feeling in your shoes might just be where you stepped in a pile of the crap you're spewing.

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