MADELEINE BRAND, host:
From blue men to blues over high gas prices.
ALEX COHEN, host:
Nice transition, Madeleine.
BRAND: Oh thank you, thank you. On this week's installment of Youth Radio's commentary series, What's the New What, King Anyi Howell talks about how gas prices are putting a damper on his social life.
KING ANYI HOWELL: What's the New What? I say gasoline is the new curfew. At 24 years old I'm glad to say I don't have anyone setting a curfew for me. Instead that someone has been replaced by a certain something. To be more specific, it's my gas tank. Since gas prices shot past four dollars a gallon, my tank is the restricting factor whenever I wanna bust out of the house.
(Soundbite of music)
Unidentified Singer: We're busting out of this house on the square. Streets like you and I...
HOWELL: Over a month ago on one of those all too rare nights when I did get out, I met a young lady.
Ms. BRIANNA NUEZ: I came out of the club and you complemented my friend on her shoes.
HOWELL: And things just kind of went from there. That's Brianna Nuez (ph). She lives 30 miles away from me in Pittsburg, California. And with gas prices as high as they are, that might as well be a different state. So how many times have we actually hung out?
Ms. NUEZ: You and I?
Ms. NUEZ: Once.
HOWELL: How many times did we talk - how much do we talk about hanging out?
Ms. NUEZ: Like every day.
(Soundbite of laughter)
HOWELL: Because gas costs so much a lot of young folks across the nation feel like their fuel tanks are playing the role of fun police in their relationships. Let's take Portland, Maine for example.
Ms. CHRISTINA LORING: If I was going on a date I think I'd be really traditional and have that person pick me up.
HOWELL: That's Christina Loring's (ph) strategy for saving gas money. Going the traditionalist route? How convenient.
Ms. LORING: But I wouldn't hesitate to ride a bike to go downtown on a date.
HOWELL: Except that Christina says riding a bike makes it difficult for her to wear a dress, or look as cute as she would if she were driving a car. And it's not just dates that gas prices have dampened. Miriam Archibald (ph) from Atlanta says people in her city use to be really into cruising.
Ms. MIRIAM ARCHIBALD: You just drive, and you have your music up loud, and you let people look at your car.
HOWELL: But now Atlanta youngsters are being forced to pump their brakes and apply some cruise control.
Ms. ARCHIBALD: It's not a necessity, so people don't prioritize cruising anymore. We prioritize putting food on our table. We prioritize handling the basics; and cruising is not a basic need.
HOWELL: Back in California, a young lady called me up and pretended to prioritize hanging out with me. She asked if I could pick her up. I in turn asked her if she was willing to contribute to my gas tank to make that feasible. The conversation went downhill from there. Minutes later she sent me a text message calling me a name I can't repeat on the radio. Let's just say jerk. But this only bothered me for a micro second because I reason to myself, hey, I'm the jerk for five-eighths of a tank of gas for tomorrow.
BRAND: King Anyi Howell is dateless, but mobile in Oakland, California. Have gas prices affected your social life? You can weigh in on our blog. You don't have to spend a penny going anywhere. Just log on npr.org/daydreaming.
(Soundbite of song "Gasolina")
Ms. GLORY: (Singing) Dame mas gasolina.
BRAND: Day to Day is a production of NPR News with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Madeleine Brand.
COHEN: And I'm Alex Cohen.
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