Ten days ago, our shitty little town was hit with a record-breaking snow storm that we were physically, mentally, and spiritually unprepared to deal with.
At first it was kinda fun. It was the good, fluffy kind of snow. The kind that makes for excellent snowball fights or maple taffy. Jerry wanted to build a snowman, but after his last attempt, I didn't want to upset the neighbors any further. (Thanks again, Sophie P, for capturing the moment perfectly.)
When the power and internet went out, we hunkered down, which was easier for some of us than others. The half of us in our town who've been in quarantine for nearly a year were already burned out from sitting in place and waiting for disaster to pass us by. The half of our town that never bothered to quarantine in the first place (because you "cAn'T lIve Yer lIfe In FeAr!") had no idea what to do now that they suddenly couldn't go to the movies or go bowling or go cough all over poor retail workers. (This isn't a political post. Wear a damn mask, people!)
A couple days without power would have been bad enough, but then the water stopped. Some of us had a dribble coming out of our faucets. Many had nothing at all. The roads were completely shut down. Mail hadn't run in days. Nobody was sure when we'd have access to water again. Some of our neighbors started melting snow so they'd be able to flush their toilets. Around this time, Jerry started knitting us hats. Honestly, I don't think he really even noticed what was going on.
Thankfully, we were able to get enough internet juice from our phones to reconnect to the outside world. If we hadn't, we might have missed the fact that there was a boil order in effect, indefinitely. For those of us who could get water through our pipes, we had to assume it was contaminated.
A few days after the initial storm, power started returning, and businesses started reopening, but nobody had any water. It was like Mad Max around here. Drinkable water is precious stuff, you guys. (As of today (2/26/2021), half of our town still doesn't have running water. The other half is still required to boil theirs for five minutes before trying to drink it or brush their teeth.)
I know this post almost sounds like the lead in for another Tale from the Gas Station, but it's actually just a status report. I wanted to offer some kind of update for those of you who've expressed concern over my lack of communication this year. I wanted to let you know, I'm alive, I'm well, and I'm still working.
Part of the reason I haven't updated this blog in nearly two months is because I didn't want to say anything until I had some good news to report. I've got several projects I'm developing right now, and every time it feels like one of them is approaching "announcement" stage, something happens. A hiccup, or global pandemic, or record-breaking winter storm, or artistic disagreements that lead to messy contract disputes. My point is, I'm trying to avoid a Cyberpunk 2077 situation here, and I don't want to get anyone's hopes up (including my own).
So I'm in a bit of a transition period now. Cool things are hopefully coming from the gas station soon. I don't know when. But soon.
In other news, the new community-written Choose Your Own Adventure arc, "The Hat Man," has been surprisingly successful, considering it's been running with minimal moderation for the last two months. (Let me know if there's any interest in starting a new one. I'm taking suggestions for plots.)
"Tales from the Gas Station: Volume Four" is coming along great, and I'm extremely proud of it. Writing this has been an emotional journey for me, and I can't wait to share the end of the story I started writing three-ish years ago.
For those of you wondering about merch, I'm sorry to say I haven't had a great deal of success in finding or setting up an alternative to my old provider, Printful. I assure you, though, I have my top minds working on this. And by "top minds," I mean I asked Jerry to look into it and I'm pretty sure he heard me but we'll see. In the meantime, Redbubble is the only official place to find gas station t-shirts and other swag.
Also, I want to extend an enormous THANK YOU to all of the generous kofi donors. I can't express enough how appreciative I am of all the support--mental and otherwise--you've shown me since I started this whole thing.
I hope to have more good news and more frequent updates going forward. Thanks everybody.
Stay safe. Wear your masks. Love you all.