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Response to NYC Liberal (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 05:24 PM

3. Anson Mount from Hell on Wheels is helping out with gas for residents and keeping a log

MY WEEKEND CHAPTER 6: We decided to just roll into the residential streets of Rockaway and, as subtly as possible, ask the people we saw outside their homes if they needed gas for their generators. We quickly learned that we needed to preface the word "gas" with the word "free" because others had been trying to make a dollar off of the situation.

Immediately people started whipping out gas cans and we came to the rather quick decision to say that we would only put gas directly into generators and in-person. While some started to get incensed about this, they quickly understood and thanked us all the same, showing us to their generators.

As we crawled through the streets, Paul drove while Dave, Chris and I rode in the back and kept careful watch on the barrel and the general mood in the street. We'd fill out five-gallon cans and walk from door to door while the truck crawled along side of us and we kept as much of an eye on it as we could as we went into homes and back yards.

I remember one middle-aged man who lived alone. He could hardly believe what we were doing. He had two generators, one of which was almost empty, the other full. He was holding the nozzle in the tank while I poured and, when I felt like he'd had his share, I said, "Okay" and started the pull the tank back. He clamped down on the nozzle until his hand was shaking and I could see that he was scared. I gave him another gallon.

Chris said that one man told him, "It looks alright now but at night shit gets real." He said that they had begun to board themselves into their homes and keep the lights low. Looting was common and everyone was afraid for their safety. For this reason, martial law was expected at any minute.

The fuel was going quick. Rik called and said that they felt they'd done all they could in Gerritsen Beach. I told them to come and meet us. There was clearly a lot of work to be done here in Rockaway.

The appreciation for what we were doing was universal. People who said they were doing okay on fuel told us where others needed it more. One man said that he was fine and then stopped us. "Wait a second! My neighbor is in here. He had his gas stolen." An old man with a cane tottered out.

"You're giving away gas? Really?!" We assured him that we were on the up and up. He got rather excited and said, "God bless you! I live just around the corner! Meet me over there!" We told him to get into the car, but he refused. "No," he said. "It's just a block away." He then promptly got into his station wagon and started the engine.

"Is he fucking serious?" I said. Granted, he had a limp. But he was ambulatory and he was begging for gas. And he was DRIVING. If there is an image of America's blindness towards its own in in-sustainability, it is this. A couple of the other guys said, "Screw him." I said, "Neh, fuck it." I got into the car with the guy and I rode with him around the corner, feeling every ounce of the one ton vehicle being propelled by precious fuel.

"Listen," he said. "My wife is psychotic. Seriously. We're gonna have to convince her to let you into the house." Sure enough, an older woman was on the porch yelling at anybody that passed by. The old man put his hands up in the air like he was being held up.

"Patricia! Patricia! This young man wants to give us gas for free! He wants to come in and put it in the generator!"

"Is he gonna take off his boots?!" she yelled.

He looked at me and I shrugged. "No!"

"He ain't comin' in here like dat! I don't want dat shit anywhere up in here!"

"I'll take off my boots," I said.

"You will?" the old man asked me.

"You will?" his wife echoed.

"Yes, ma'am. I'll take off my boots."

Suddenly, it was as if I was talking to another person. "Okay, dear. Just come up here and take them off right here. You understand why I say that, don't you? That stuff is toxic."

I assured her that I understood and she led me upstairs in my socks. On the second floor we walked through a small kitchenette and into a bedroom where there was a teenage girl wrapped up in a blanket and reading.

"She's shy!" the old woman said. She led me out onto the balcony and I poured the entire gas can into their generator. "Look at that!" she yelled. "Can I offer you a whiskey?"

Seeing as how I'd lose all sense of identity if I declined, I said yes. As she was pouring me the whiskey, she showed me a history book of Rockaway Beach and I could sense the pride this woman had in this neighborhood. She wasn't psychotic at all. She was upset. I downed a whiskey and patted the bed on which the teenager lounged, still covering her face. "Hey. It's nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too," she mumbled.

"Do you watch AMC?" I asked her.


I shrugged and left it at that. After washing my hands and re-donning my boots, I had to grab our other friend who had just arrived from Rik's car and been sent to come and fetch me. Patricia was trying to wrangle him upstairs for a whiskey too. I gave him a silent "let's go" motion and we were off. I looked for the old man, wanting to explain to him that he shouldn't drive anymore, that he may end up having to siphon his own gas tank, but he was nowhere in sight.

Soon after than we ran out of gas and made the group decision to head over to the FEMA staging area to see how we could help out. We were already bleary.

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NYC Liberal Nov 2012 OP
Blue Meany Nov 2012 #1
Liberalagogo Nov 2012 #2
Blue Meany Nov 2012 #4
LineNew Reply Anson Mount from Hell on Wheels is helping out with gas for residents and keeping a log
graywarrior Nov 2012 #3
dipsydoodle Nov 2012 #5
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