The other day, I (Ev) found myself complaining about gas prices. It’s frustrating to pay over $3 a gallon for fuel, right? But then I started to think about how ridiculous it is for me to complain about that. I am paying $40 for a liquid which powers a huge, complex metal tube that safely and quickly transports me for over 300 miles. I can travel these miles with very little physical effort, in a comfortable environment, while listening to pleasing music, or perhaps enjoying a phone conversation with a friend.
Compare that with the options people had only 120 years ago. Need to get a new pair pants?
Today: Hop in car, drive 7 miles in 12 minutes (in 72 degree temperature even though it’s 94 outside) to Kohl’s. Purchase pants and return home, stopping by the post office which is 3 miles out of the way. Total miles covered: 17. Total time: 46 minutes.
1890: Mosey on out to the barn at daybreak and saddle up old Betsy. Gallup 4 miles into town in 52 minutes, stopping twice for Betsy to poop. Spend 27 minutes walking out the soreness in your hind quarters, 12 minutes cleaning up the sweat and grim you accumulated from the trip, 43 minutes purchasing your pants, and 1 hour in the saloon. Feed and water Betsy, then begin the journey home. Spend 14 minutes avoiding the town shoot out and 25 minutes running away from bandits. Stop briefly to throw up because all the beverages you drank at the saloon have been sloshing around in your belly. Finally arrive just before sunset. Total miles covered: 6. Total time: 13 hours.