Thursday, June 11, 2015
Yes, I Drive a Prius
The other evening, cruising with Joyce over to Aurora to get a (cheap) Diet Coke at the McDonald's, a presence loomed behind us--a huge Ford F-150 that seemed magnetized by my rear bumper and stayed impossibly close to us all along Stow Road, Old Mill Road, and some of Aurora-Hudson Rd. He turned off somewhere in Aurora, and I felt the relief of a cavalry column noticing that the Comanche, recently visible on the cliffs above, had decided to go home and stream Orange Is the New Black.
Anyway, it seemed to me that the F-150 seemed hungry and was trying to figure out a way to eat that sissy, snacky thing meandering along at 5 mph over the speed limit.
Is it our Prius that makes me insecure? Or did my primal insecurity send me to the Prius lot in the first place?
Our current car (2012--see photo above) is actually our second black Prius; we had a 2007 version as well (whose GPS, by the way, I much preferred to the current one). Throughout our 45-year marriage we've always bought high-mileage cars--a blend of our determination to spend as little as we can on gas (cheapies, in other words) with our environmental commitments, as shaky and hypocritical as they sometimes are. (Hypocrisy #1: We buy a Prius; then we drive seven miles--each way--over to Aurora to get a Diet Coke we could just as easily have bought at our local McD's, which is walkable.)
Still, the mileage is amazing. Driving to see my mom in western Massachusetts (about 560 miles away), we routinely get 55 mpg. On drives to Kent (and Aurora) we often crack 60 mpg. That saves $$. I just got our monthly bill from Shell: $75. And we have two cars (the other is a 2010 Corolla). I really would prefer spending our wee retirement incomes on things other than gasoline, you know? Of course, to be fair, we don't drive all that much anymore. I'm retired; Joyce teaches only occasionally now at Hiram. Gas prices have fallen. And, of course, I'm well aware that all sorts of people need larger vehicles for all sorts of reasons.
But still ... there's something about Priuses that pisses people off. (Prius, by the way--from the Latin: coming before.) I often get some middle-finger salutes out on the freeway; vandals have keyed both our previous Prius and the newer one; and, of course, the popular culture swims with sharky allusions to the car. A couple of notable recent films (The Other Guys [link] and Horrible Bosses [link]) have waxed wise about Priuses and their wussy drivers. Follow links to relevant clips from those films.
Oh, and Prius-ownership is often the sort of thing listed in insults from politicians who try to appeal to Real Americans by disdaining latte-loving, tasseled-loafer-wearing, Prius-driving, Perrier-sipping, Prada-wearing, Princeton-going Liberals.
But we will persevere, Prius-wise. I'm a cheap-o at heart (so is Joyce), and I just don't want to spend lots of our discretionary income (such as it is) on gas. So I'll endure the flip-offs, the hovering F-150s, the sneers of Hollywood and others, the keyed sides of the car. And maybe I'll get a T-shirt made: FRONT: YES, I DRIVE A PRI-WUSS. BACK: But I don't drink lattes.