Oregonians are about to face the same trials as the ill-fated Donner party who attempted to make their way west 170 years ago. It’s a familiar story: an ill-prepared group of inexperienced pioneers decided to take a trip on the ole Oregon Trail with limited supplies at a very bad time of year. Cannibalism ensues.
Now, entire generations of Oregonians – some, certainly, descended from those who braved more successful trips out west nearly two centuries ago – are being forced to come to terms with something they are equally unprepared to deal with: pumping their own gas.
It’s a simple task that most of us know how to do. But if you live in and have spent most of your life in rural Oregon, there’s a chance you might run into a situation where you have to actually get out of your car and fill your own tank. Portlanders, you can breathe a bit more easily. This law will only affect people who live in sparsely populated counties: those with a population less than 40,000.
“Things like this are why I haven’t taken a road trip since I was a kid,” Becky Stone commented on an article Vice posted to Facebook. “Oregon is safe. Oregon is home. It’s where, no matter what, I can pull up to a gas station and say, ‘Twenty regular.’ Maybe even get a free oil check.”
“I’d move to New Jersey if it weren’t New Jersey. They’re not expected to pump their own gas,” said Brian Newton of Wheeler County, the least populated county in Oregon. He expects that rural areas like his will be hit hardest by the new law.
“The reaction on social media has been swift and overwhelming,” said social media anxiety research pioneer Kelly Cryer. “Oregonians are terrified of running into a situation where they’re alone on some deserted highway, and the only gas station for miles is self-service. It’s the most modern of horror stories.”
On the other side, she said, was the rest of the country’s reaction to Oregon’s new law. “They’ve been pumping their own gas since they were sixteen. The idea of not knowing how to do so is ludicrous to them.”
Cryer calls this social media anxiety disorder “Gas Hysteria,” and says it will likely calm down within a week or two. “But if New Jersey and more populated areas of Oregon ever relax their self-service laws, you’re going to see this pop up again.”
While most people believe there’s no real threat to letting Oregonians pump their own gas, author Mark Adams painted a bleak picture when he updated his Facebook status: “Gas everywhere. Fire everywhere. Hipster beards and flannels alight, flaming in the cool, humid air of the Pacific Northwest. As they burn, their final words are an attempt at poetry. But hubris overtakes them. ‘Tell the world I’m vegan’ is their dying plea.”
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.