“Hi, I Drive a Hybrid”

dam thoughts, barry currin, beaverdamusa.comHi, I’m Barry, and I drive a hybrid.

There, I said it — put it right smack dab on the middle of the Internet for millions and millions to see.

It’s taken me a year to get to this point. But before I go full-on into my tree-hugger testimony, let me say that I have owned or part-owned 6 V-8 vehicles. Kim brought a 1979 Trans Am into the marriage. We had a couple of big Cougars back in the early 90′s. I still own my gas-swiggin’ Dodge pickup with the crooked bumper and the peeling paint on the driver’s side rear fender, which replaced an older gas-swiggin’ Dodge pickup, which also had peeling paint in the same place, incidentally.

And a year ago, we sold the old Durango after piling up almost a quarter million miles on it. There will never be another vehicle with so many fond family memories. We drove it nearly to death; when we sold it, I think the only original parts were the steering wheel, and a plastic chocolate chip cookie that we found under the seat shortly after buying it and never took out. It kind of became the mascot.

I miss it, but I don’t miss the 87-feet-per-gallon gas mileage.

Enter the Prius. Whew, now I’ve said “Prius,” and the truth has set me free.

Say what you want. We have positively loved it since we got it in April of last year. It’s the crossover model — called the V — and it is much cooler looking than the regular Prius. It’s quite roomy. It’s good for hauling Kim’s glass art to shows.

It is very bad however, for the petroleum industry. I apologize to any Saudi Arabian oil prince I ticked off. (Really, I don’t. I’m not that much of a tree hugger.) When we first got it, I’m convinced people at Mr. Zip, Kangaroo and Raceway started calling around to hospitals and funeral homes checking on us. Rumors of a memorial service would not be too far fetched. I cannot believe there weren’t layoffs and store closures until the market corrected itself to allow for the fact that I was no longer pumping $80 every three days. Now, I just throw the clerk a $20 every couple of weeks. It’s bliss.

Much like a golf cart motor, the Prius engine goes dead at read lights or in the drive-through. When you punch the gas pedal, it comes back on like magic. I love to watch the gas mileage display at 99.9 mpg, which is what it shows if you’re going down a hill or driving in town. I also love to wave at the sad-faced convenience store clerks as I purr past. I would toot the horn at them, but it sounds like it came off a plastic Little Tykes car. The horn is wimpy — not real intimidating. Likewise, the engine doesn’t make much noise when you floor the gas pedal and go around someone in disgust who’s sitting still and texting at a green light. You just kind of whir around them like a flock of angry birds taking off at once.

And that is probably what accounts for all the bruised egos I have caused over the past year. I’ve gotten more than a few Deliverance looks when passing someone in the mighty hybrid.

I have become the God of Parallel Parking. There is not a spot I won’t try to stick it.

I can open the hood and check the oil, but that’s about all. I don’t recognize much of anything under there, which is fine. I gave up trying to work on my on vehicles long, long ago anyway.

It took me a year, but I’m finally admitting in public that I love it. I may even start tooting the horn now and again.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him: currin01@gmail.com

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