Sunday, December 24, 2006

Chaos at the Pumps

What a weekend it's been! I'm officially on another vacation - for two weeks this time. This time I plan to rest, read, watch movies and generally laze about (all the things I didn't do enough of the last time).

There's been a crazy week-long scramble to buy petrol. Is it fuel scarcity or is just panic buying? From the numbers of people queuing and sleeping at petrol stations, not many people know or care. I spent up to four and a half hours at a petrol station today with my brother. If I wasn't low on fuel and had places to go to over the next few days, I would not have bothered. I would have sat my butt at home and waited until this madness (inevitably) subsides.

Sitting there in the queue, I nearly wept for our country that is so rich in crude oil, but yet has its citizens in short supply of something that should be so readily available. The behaviour of many of the drivers, jumping the line and trying to be 'smarter' than the others was unbecoming, though very 'Nigerian'. As I moved further up the queue, I could see that the cars were being serviced at one pump, while a mass of people scrambled at the other pump to buy petrol in jerry cans. That pump was a mess of jostling bodies and shoving arms. It disturbed my super-organised self to see such unnecessary chaos, so I tried hard to focus more on the other (far more orderly) pump.

Alas, as the fighting got worse the attendants stopped selling petrol to cars and we waited to see if they would resume. Eventually I got tired of waiting and left. I'd already spent way too much of my day sweating profusely into my Sunday clothes and getting bitten by invisible sandflies. I got home to find that my mother had already organised some petrol to be bought for all the cars in the house. My sister who had (sensibly) waited it out at home, had her tank filled without breaking out into as much as a bead of sweat.

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