Friday, May 02, 2003

Those who drive gas-guzzlers shouldn't throw stones

Last week, right before flying to Virginia, my front right tire blew out as I was driving home (70 mph, left lane: scary). Since I've returned, I've not yet had a chance to replace said tire, so yesterday and today I've borrowed a friend's Nissan Pathfinder. I actually might have risked the drive to work on my spare today, but wanted to bring my bike in to work for future evening rides, and it fits into the Pathfinder much better than into my little Jetta. I really don't like driving this car: it's big and loud and hard to maneuver, and every time it shakes, I'm afraid it's going to fall apart.

This afternoon, I was almost done driving the car. After finishing my I-5 commute, I ran a few errands in the neighborhood down the hill from my house. I was having a hard time pulling out of the parking spot (big car, less than optimal visibility, very busy, tight parking lot). I was trying to ease in and out of the space to get enough room to turn, hoping someone would give me a break and stop to let me out. Instead, a driver in a little red car stuck his head out his window and told me to "drive a little more carefully in my (growling out the last syllables) S.U.V."

I recognized that bitterness. I'm very anti-SUV, at least for commuting and driving around town. I know that I should be better about carpooling, but I drive a diesel car that gets 47 miles to the gallon of gas (or vegatable oil). I can borrow this SUV because the owner commutes via bike or bus, and only drives the car when traveling into the mountains with bikes or skiis on the roof. I'm also normally a pretty good driver, and don't normally find myself in a position where I'm hoping that someone will help me get out of a parking space.

Needless to say, I left the parking lot (thanks to the bystanders who directed me out of the space) in a less than great mood. And to think; trying on bikinis wasn't the low point of my afternoon...


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