I don’t know why this struck me as humorous, but it did.
I was on Mayport Road today, which is not an unusual place for me to be, but when I looked over at the woman driving the hybrid, she had a cigarette dangling, rather precipitously from her lips.
Not exactly image I have in my head when I think of the typical Prius driver.
I’m not sure what that image is, but it’s not a somewhat haggard-looking woman with a half-smoked cigarette.
Having spent some time on the road recently, it doesn’t seem as if the Prius mentality has taken hold anyway. On a recent road trip to Orlando, I couldn’t help but notice that there are still (literally) tons of massive pickup trucks and SUVs being pushed at speeds well above the posted limit on I-95 and I-4. Every time one blows by me, tires howling because they of the the big, all-weather treads on their tires that make them even less fuel efficient, my principal reaction is “I’m glad I don’t have their fuel bill.” I suppose that they are among the 89% of the population in Florida that still has a job, and what they pour into their fuel tanks is worth less than their time to get where ever it is that they’re going 15-20 minutes earlier, while endangering the lives of those who dare to go slower.
Of course, speeding tickets are such a revenue stream that if people really started driving the speed limit all the time, we’d be in far worse financial shape than we are now.
While the rising price of oil, because it is, after all, the beginning of home heating oil season for folks that don’t live in climates like Florida, does not seem to be deterring people from pressing the gas pedal to the floor on their pickups and SUV’s neither does it seem to be helping nuclear power gain any traction on the Senate floor, where the climate (read cap-and-trade) bill appears to be struggling. Dems have added some provisions for some movement on the U.S. Nuclear Power Industry in an effort to get at least a few Republicans to vote for the climate bill, according to the Washington Post. There are not 60 votes for Cap-and-Trade, nor are there 60 votes for a nuclear power bill, but added together … there might be 60 votes to pass something.
It used to be called *gasp* Compromise, before that became a dirty word everywhere in Washington except for news releases.
I find it to be telling that much of Europe, which so many on the political left hold up as such a paragon of virtue on so many issues … saying “well, that’s how the do it in Europe”, generates so much of its electricity from nuclear plants, apparently with very little cause for alarm amongst the thousand-year-old castles and a stellar safety record. Maybe the nuclear lobby should point to that and say “Well, that’s how they do it in Europe,” but then they might be bound by an aversion to hypocrisy to support a single-payer, or in some other way nationalized, health care plan.
And finally, the sight of the woman in the Prius smoking led to a conversation about how smoking is perhaps becoming seen as a habit of the lower class. Watching a show like Mad Men, you’re reminded that smoking used to be considered glamorous. From board rooms to news sets, airplanes and the finest restaurants, smoking was nearly ubiquitous as little as 40 years ago. Now, when I travel, it’s surprising to be asked by the host or hostess of an eating establishment “Smoking or Non.” Here in Florida, it’s one of those things that just is not allowed in any business.
One of the reasons I quit back in the mid-80’s was because even back then, in California, a smoker was something of a pariah. You were relegated to the outdoors at people’s houses if you were visiting. One could still smoke in many businesses out there back in the day, but that went away a while back too.
Not to mention the cost. Cigarettes were about $20 a carton when I quit. I understand now they’re closer to $40, and in states where the taxes are higher, closer to $50. When I was going through two packs a day, a carton would last 5 days tops. I’d sure hate to be supporting a $300-$400 a month cigarette habit.
A cigar, however, is still a symbol of affluence. Which doesn’t make them any less of a health risk, but I don’t go through 40 a day, either.