This Prius business — it’s getting worse than I thought. (See http://geezersisters.wordpress.com/2007/10/23/19/ for troubled background to this problem.)
A few weeks ago, I naively told my husband about some Prius nut I’d read about in the newspaper. How he glided as much as possible and, even worse, didn’t use the heater if the outside temperature were above 20 degrees Fahrenheit — all to save gas and boast about his mpg ratings.
What was wrong with me? I just passed the story on to my husband, the same way I would any topic about some imbecile doing stupid things. I never thought he would think it was a good idea or anything.
But there we were, driving back from a restaurant last night, and I noticed I was shivering with cold. I asked him to please turn up the heat. Turns out, it wasn’t on. And it was freezing outside — at least by thinblooded Texas standards. Forty degrees, I feel sure.
“Ever since you told me about that guy not using his heat,” my husband said, a little sheepishly, but not sheepishly enough, “I’ve been doing the same thing.”
But he turned the heat on, accommodatingly enough. That’s because, as usual, he was peering into the navigational screen and didn’t have time to argue. Ever since he discovered GPS, we never drive anywhere on a normal route. We’re always spinning around back routes, alleys, side streets and lengthy detours that my husband and his GPS buddy come up with.
“Don’t you think this is more interesting?” he demands, keeping his nose about two inches from the GPS screen. (Which is dangerous, if you want to know what I think. Also, I have a recent pet theory that this constant reliance on technology is making us all stupider. When’s the last time you had to memorize a phone number?)
But, anyway. GPS. MPG obsession. All of it is related and unhealthy, in my opinion. My husband turned onto a street with an open gate.
“This street is closed,” I told him helpfully. (People, especially those you’re married to, always appreciate helpful suggestions, I’ve found.) “It’s a gated community.”
“Not, it’s not,” he said, pointing at the GPS diagram. “It’s open. It’s a city street. Just look at the map.”
Two blocks later, when we reached a barricaded gate, he put the car in reverse and backed it up.
“Told you so,” I said.
“The city should have put up a sign saying no outlet,” he said. But he sounded pretty cheerful. I think going in reverse must have a beneficial effect on his mpg statistics. Next time, I’ll remember to ask.
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)