I remember the “Flying A” gas station within walking distance of my parent’s house in Queens, New York City, where the price per gallon was, like thirty-seven cents back then.
It now kind of hurts to remember these things – or angers me. I also remember and notice now that free air at a filling station is becoming increasingly rare here in this southeastern U.S. city that I currently reside in and maybe your town also. This is another bad trend because, after all, it is freaking air dammit! A dude from Egypt recently moved from his Tobacco/Beer/Lottery store and bought a Shell station here. It was the only gas station left to have a free air hose like we above a certain age are accustomed to having, and within two miles of my house. Don’t tell me to “get over it” either! If you say that, then you are part of the problem and not the solution. Air for our tires should always be free. Do you pay to breathe?
The Flying A became either Mobile or Getty or maybe both – I forget which, but it always had the free air hose like every other station did. The air hose was more important than the gas to me earlier in life because I and all my boyhood mates rode our bicycles all over the place, and a flat was as major for us as running out of gas was for our parents in their automobiles.
I could hardly hold in my chagrin when my twentysomething adopted sister and secretary at Office Depot tried to recently convince me that we should pay for the air to inflate our tires upon the premise that “someone has to pay the cost for the compressor” or some such bull. Since I like her expertise at saving me money on printer ink – a subject for another post – I held my tongue that wanted to unleash this historical lecture that you are reading.
Why are free air hoses at filling station going “bye-bye”? Number one reason: greed. In the case of the entrepreneur from Egypt: lack of historical perspective over here in the U.S.A. Which speaks to the end of “neighborhoodness”; would you charge your next-door neighbor for the cup of sugar they rang your doorbell to borrow or a cup of milk?
Now my top reasons air should still be free: 8- Because we all breathe air freely – it is a reflex; 7 – Just ask someone with respiratory issues like Asthma or Bronchitis if air is free; 6 – Because it is part of our atmosphere on Earth; 5 – Because air is like the ocean, rivers, stream and lakes – do we have to pay to enjoy them? 4 – Because it is just mean to charge for harnessing air into a hose; 3 – Because it is air and we pay too much for tires anyway; 2 – Because gasoline costs too much and we are too willing as a nation to pay high prices so it is just greedy not to give us something for nothing at the gas station; and my #1 reason air must be free: Kids and adults (like me) who ride our bicycles don’t carry money and should be able to fill-up our tires with air, especially in cases of emergency, and ride off into the sunshine.
Feel free to add your own reasons should you be old/young enough to understand where I am comin’ from. TTYS
**PickHITT: Kudos to the stations in Bellerose, New York, Lacey Township, New Jersey, North Carolina, Nashville and Floral Park, New York that I noticed recently have free AIR! Comment here with your gas station location if you also have a free air pump for kids and grown-up tires alike! ~ October, 2013
**Check this site, FreeAirpump.com click “view map” to find stations in your area with FREE air!