This weekend I will need to gas up the Miata and, for the first time, I will pay more than $4 per gallon! My friend Lee Fairchild is visiting from Ohio, where he said gas prices are still within the high $3 range. I assured him it would be closer to $4 by Memorial Day.
The price of gas has blown my book-signing budget. I knew going into this that signings didn’t pay for themselves in sales, so I budgeted for gas, food, and, where needed, lodging. Signings sold books and got my name out there for the next book and that was okay, while I could afford the loss. Now, I am not so sure I can.
I am still waiting to hear back from Barnes and Nobel in Ft. Myers, Florida, and Glendale, California. Ft. Myers is about five hours by car. I don’t know what that calculates in gas dollars. I am not even sure how disappointed I will be if the deal falls through and I don’t have to make the drive; that is sad.
I already have my airline ticket for Los Angeles, and three signings arranged and two more possible, so I have to make that trip. I will need to rent a car and gas in LA has been $4 for a while! I am staying with my sister, so that will help cut down expenses, but I hadn’t budgeted for all the local gas increases and that will hurt my pocketbook in LA.
I have filed an application to be in the Vero Beach Book Festival in November and I have already been invited to the Florida Heritage Book Festival in St. Augustine. Fortunately, that St. Augustine festival pays for my gas and hotel and I have a friend, Bob Soos, in Vero.
In today’s Miami Herald, there was a story on how gas prices are affecting food prices and how low-income families are coping; apple sauce instead of apples for the kids, milk at one meal only, etc.
Down here, at the end of the road, food prices have always been higher than in the mainland, but now it’s even worse. Market prices are up, restaurant prices are up; it seems everything but salaries are going up. $4.09, I’m sorry, four-point-zero-nine, and nine-tenths is the average price per gallon here.
What’s up with that 9/10th of a cent? Are we stupid or what? $3.99 &9/10th isn’t $4? You have to give the greedy-little-bastards credit, because they have stayed way ahead of the public in all this. They’ve know how far to stick the knife in our back and turn it slowly until we said ‘thank you.’ And we are smiling as the blood is siphoned from our bodies, one precious drop at a time.
Like most Americans, I am looking at ways to save money. Less eating out, more planning before heading out in the car, car-pooling on weekend trips to Old Town. We have even talked about staying on the sailboat Friday nights, if there’s a reason we need to be back in town on Saturday. Of course, who would feed the dog and rabbit? It’s always something!
If you are doing something to cut back, so you can afford gas, write and let me know. For now, I’ll just get back to finishing my novel. I am only a couple of chapters from the ending and then there’s a short story I’ve outlined ready to be written, but what do I do after that?