*A note from the author: Well, now I’ve gone and done it. I wrote this piece a few days ago, and was tinkering with it, when Amy Keroes, editor of Mommy Track’d, asked what my new topic was going to be. “Well, it’s a rant,” I said. Rather smugly, I’m sure. “About SUVs, and some other stuff.” And then she said, oh good, it would fit right in with Risa Green’s piece . Had I read Risa Green’s piece? No, I hadn’t, and I suddenly wondered whether mine would be too much like hers. But I was on my way out the door, and didn’t have time to check.
When I returned late last night I popped open Mommy Track’d so I could read Risa’s column , and well, I would say that our topics are in fact, polar opposites. (Little global warming joke, there. Haha!) A very good, honest piece, by the way. But now I am in a bind. Because now my column sounds like a horrible diatribe against Risa Green. Which it was not intended to be! Oh, shit. I really don’t want to start a Mommy Track’d feud, everyone here is so nice. Risa is nice. But, well, I’ve written the damn thing. And I do stand behind my words. And I don’t know if it would have been worse posting this simultaneously with Risa’s piece , or better now, when I can pathetically backpedal and desperately explain myself. But here’s the piece, the way I wrote it. Before I read Risa’s peon to her SUV. It’s a Mommy Track’d Smackdown! Even Betsy, the Mommy Track'd cartoonist is in on the action. Check out her Eco-Comic in Funny Papers .
I don’t want to get all holier-than-thou on you, but honestly, I am just continually astounded by those denizens of this fair city (and others like it across the country, also small towns, suburbs, hamlets) who continue to drive untenably large, gas-guzzling SUV-type passenger cars. People who lumber around town in outsized military vehicles more suited to a harsh desert terrain than crowded streets; vehicles that get about six miles to the gallon in the city; sturdy all-terrain vehicles that have possibly never seen a mountain road; vehicles I cannot believe are not an embarrassment to drive.
I know many SUV drivers who are suitably embarrassed to have bought one in the first place, and can’t wait to get rid of theirs-- and of course, many drivers are not in a financial position to just pop off and trade in for a new Prius. But I am surprised at how many brand-spanking-new road hogs I am seeing on the street these days. New, as in just bought. Just bought, after the Al Gore movie, after floods, hurricanes, droughts, and every obvious consequence of human-caused climate change short of raining toads. Seriously, are these people living in a cave?
I have been using those weird squiggly light bulbs for years now, despite their unflattering cast. I try to ride my bike to do small errands. Big deal. I do my little part with my composting bins and recycling. It’s not going to save the world. But at the same time, I am really starting to feel as if I’m subsidizing a bunch of Americans who live in some kind of a parallel universe. Those willfully ignorant and obtuse, who somehow haven’t been clued in that we’re not supposed to be watering the sidewalks, driving stupidly polluting vehicles, and generally behaving as if we still own the world and all its resources. Are these those same “low information” voters we keep hearing about? And can’t something be done about them?
And another thing: if adding a cup of milk to a pot into which you have emptied a package of dried cheese is what you call "cooking", then you are not allowed to have a Viking stove. I'd like to add, if you have a Viking stove, and use it for such purposes as heating frozen dinners or crisping your take-out pizza, then you have to give it back, because you really don't need, nor should you be allowed to have, a Viking stove. You are not allowed to have a Viking stove just because you can afford one. You must earn your Viking stove, or your shiny Wolf Range. I have a friend who has a Viking stove, for which I am only slightly envious. She can afford a Viking stove, but she also deserves to own one, as she is the kind of friend who will have a few people over so that she can work out some of her delightful recipes. She has a happy Viking stove; a stove that turns out delicate puff pastry and gently steamed fish and hearty lemongrass infused soup. She gets to have a Viking stove. See how it works? Especially because you probably use your microwave more, anyway. In fact you probably make your coffee in the microwave. I have nothing good to say about that, in fact I am just about speechless on the subject of microwaved coffee.
I ineffectively shake my fist to all of you who run the water at full blast while brushing your teeth. Or run your air conditioner when you're not at home, and in the winter do the same with your heater, because why should you have to enter a chilly house when you've been out all day? Your children watch too much TV, and they don't know what it feels like to get really dirty, or sweaty, unless it's during an organized sporting event, to which they are driven in a car, for which they wear synthetic uniforms and receive a trophy simply for participating, They have never ridden a public bus. If your children don't already have a TV in their room, you’re talking about getting them one. If they already have one, you're probably talking about getting one for the SUV.
I just don’t want to support you any more. You are taking up too much space. You are teaching your children that you are more important than everybody else on this planet, that you don't have to share, that our resources are unlimited, and yours for the taking. Your large living is incredibly annoying to those of us who attempt to conserve water, electricity, and fuel. So, it’s time to stop it. Not you, of course… it’s those other people I’m talking about. The ones who haven’t heard yet. It’s time to stop.