It was a Sunday for relaxing some and taking a load off once we got to the beach.
We had all the requisite stuff - our swimsuits, towels, sunscreen, snacks, beach umbrella guaranteed to give us SPF 100 protection, sand castle building materials in the giant beach bucket, beach ball, and our car to get us there.
Just a jaunt out to the shore for a day, but it was colored by what was going on in the Gulf.
Not that I wasn't expecting it, but it reared its ugly head in so many ways, from the sign we saw in front of a gift shop on Fort Pickens Road that said THE ONLY OIL ALLOWED ON OUR BEACHES IS COPPERTONE to the loads of BP gas stations we encountered along Alabama's shoreline roads to the headline of a local paper in Fairhope, Alabama, that proclaimed that the fishing for Alabama commercial fishers was better than ever despite the spew from 5000 feet under. The change in the air was subtle, but it was there.
Between sudden thunderstorms, including a rip-roaring one we drove through on I-10 just to get to Florida, we enjoyed three hours of fun in the surf at Fort Pickens with the help of our pal Edie's senior pass to all the state and national parks. The remains of the fort now lie within the string of islands known as the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and they sit on the eastern edge of Santa Rosa Island surrounded by gorgeous white sand and some beautifully clear waters, in which we saw some minnows and another bunch of fellow beach frolickers saw a school of manta rays passing through. Just a perfect beach day. Not a boom in sight where we were (which didn't mean there weren't any...), and we got out before some more storm clouds rolled in and opened up on us, passing some roped-off shorebird nesting areas on the way back out of the island.
The drive back through Perdido Key had us passing our first BP gas station of the trip, which we booed and hissed at as we passed. There'd been a lot of idly malicious chatter through the day's travels about how best to deal with BP and its greedy executives, and the reaction to that first station was initial relief at seeing nobody at the pumps, then a little banter between me and my husband:
"Let's go over there and only use their bathroom."
"...and miss," I added.
"Oooh, I never thought about that before," Dan said wonderingly.
"If we get caught? 'Oh, that? You'll have to clean that up.' "
" 'That's not what you think it is, that turd on the floor. It's really a tar ball.' "
"Wait! Don't tell them that. Then they'll never clean it up!"
I lost count after I took note of seven BP stations all the way from Orange Beach to Gulf Shores to Fairhope to where Highway 98 meets I-10. When we got home late Sunday night, I looked up, out of curiosity, how many gas stations sell BP gas (hint: it isn't just the ones labeled BP) and was faced with the sobering fact that a boycott of all BP stations won't hit the corporation much.
So, BP drills a well, produces the oil, it then goes to a BP pipeline, to a BP refinery, into a BP truck, and then to BP stations? That's just not the way the supply works. As a matter of fact, historically BP has passed on production facilities to other partners in the production investment, although that has changed a bit since buying Amoco and some of the bigger finds in the GOM.All I'm left with is a futile shaking of my fists in the face of this greed and our dependence on fossil fuels...and a hope that eventually the British will be suing BP just for dragging their nationality through the crude.
By not buying gas from a BP station, all you would be doing is making keeping the guy who runs the BP station from feeding his family.... At a cost, the guy is changing his signs to Shell because of the BP aura. The gas, minus some additives particular to certain producers, all comes from the same black pot.