A recent episode of South Park, “Smug Alert,” shows hybrid car drivers being obnoxiously self-righteous about their mode of transportation. One family, frustrated that the unsophisticated residents of South Park don’t appreciate their hybrid car, move to progressive San Francisco. We live in the Bay Area and we both laughed and cringed at the San Francisco housewarming party where all the locals patted themselves on the back for their politically correct views (though to be truly San Franciscan, at least one of the couples would have introduced their spouse as “my partner”.)
If Peter and I were in the market for a new car, our first choice would be a hybrid. We can’t afford one, so we continue to settle for just having fuel-efficient compact cars. I do, however, have an old road bike which I’ve fitted up with a seat for Kelly.
Every so often when I have the time, the weather is right, and I don’t have to haul anything too big to fit in my backpack, I’ll ride my bike instead of driving. As you might guess from my criteria above, I don’t do it very often. And Kelly weighs 35 pounds, so after 4 or 5 (flat) miles, my legs are quaking. At most, the choice to take a bike instead of a car saves me 50 cents in gasoline.
But I do feel very proud of myself for biking instead of driving. I’ll bask in my achievement and casually mention my bike trip to everyone I encounter. If I didn’t bike, but I see a bicyclist at the library or a store, I make a point of acknowledging his merit, particularly if the weather is less than ideal. And I expect you all to post comments praising me for biking instead of driving.
So I know if I had a hybrid car, I’d be mighty smug about it, too.