Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Just So Much Gas

A stereotypical February day, today was. Gray, cold and slightly wet. More of this is forecast, with serious subfreezing weather predicted for the weekend. Hasn’t February heard of the human need for variety? Sure, it’s winter. Have a week or two of snow. But throw in strings of 70-degree Fahrenheit days.

February’s not listening. It never does.

But it’s churlish to complain. I only complain so I can use the word “churlish” in a sentence – people are so often churlish, but the word is so little used. January was much warmer than average, and if reports in the papers and on TV didn’t convince me of it, the gas bill that arrived today did. Instead of being extremely expensive, it was only very expensive – less, in fact, than the December bill (actually, it doesn’t quite break out by months, but it’s close).

These days I buy natural gas from a company called Nicor. That’s one of those names born in the marketing department. The Great Northern Gas Behemoth would be a better name, or at least something sober like Northern Illinois Gas. Or even GasCom. But no.

When I lived in the city, gas was provided by People’s Gas (or maybe Peoples Gas, I can’t remember and don’t want to look it up). Now that’s a name with some teeth to it – sounds like a natural gas operation headquartered in the Beijing of yore. Every statement would come with a circular that would begin something like this: “Comrades! People’s Gas is enclosing this message to inform the consuming masses that natural gas production is on track to exceed projections of the current Five Year Plan!…”


At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your take on "People's Gas" reminds me of a friend who lives in Houston. A number of years ago, during a shakeout in the banking industry (and possibly a rough patch for the oil and gas business), he noticed that an institution called the Petrobank had failed. He wondered, he said, if it would shortly reopen under the name "Leninbank." ANK


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