Gas prices are down, and so am I. No, I’m not some sort of environmental nut. It’s just that I know exactly what Susan Sontag meant when she said “I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them.” And only last month I, as a consumer, was the victim of a vast international conspiracy. Those were the days.
Back then I even had major politicians feeding my delusion. In September, Jack Layton called for a commissioner to review high gas prices; Stephen Harper told reporters it sure looked like gouging; and Stéphane Dion wanted more Competition Bureau powers to investigate price-fixing. Now prices are down, my political friends have gone silent and I’m a nobody.
Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that gas prices both rise and fall in tandem because of the highly competitive nature of the industry, not the reverse, and are driven by actual or anticipated changes in the price of crude oil. But how lonely, how terribly lonely, to feel that it’s all market forces, that I’m just a dust speck on the face of global trade. Of course politicians would rather be fearless crusaders against illicit plundering on an international scale than boring hacks mumbling populist clichés. And I’d rather be the target of such a conspiracy than just a guy struggling to make ends meet.
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