February 22, 2008

Prius and Proud

Posted in green living, silicon valley at 4:22 pm by siliconmom

My husband is on a business trip to Europe this week, so that means I get exclusive use of the family Prius. Yeeees! No cajoling, no negotiation. Zip. Since we bought it last summer, we both like it so much there’s almost a daily battle over breakfast: how far are you driving today? Whoever is going further -or says they are (!)- gets to sit behind the wheel and enjoy the heady sensation of watching the miles per gallon counter hover around 45.

Now before you accuse us of being smug environmentalists with a tree hugger’s adoration for all things green; I have to confess we bought the car because it would save us oodles of commute time by driving solo in the carpool lane (Oh CA lawmakers, I kiss your feet on this one!) They say: Time is money, but time is also sanity when you’re waiting for your road warrior to arrive home so you can get dinner going for a pair of rambunctious kids! But owning a Prius has also had some unexpected consequences, some good, some bad…

For starters, my best single girlfriend nearly had a fit when I told her we were buying a Prius. She says she’s sick of Pasadena’s ubiquitous Prii and even used a nasty four letter word: UGLY! Another Prius driving friend gave it up and bought a Lotus instead. But I paid no heed and now I’m so smitten with mine, my retort also has four letters: SEXY!

OK, it may not be sexy in a Maserati type manner, but I feel pretty sexy driving it. There’s something sexy about driving a car that purrs almost silently through the neighborhood. I sense envious eyes following me down the street…I see friends in their gas guzzling Suburbans and Expeditions and can’t help feeling a wee bit special (and lucky too, especially with the gas prices rocketing up). A CEO I interviewed recently at the paper told me he gets his Prius kicks gliding in from Berkeley to Silicon Valley in the carpool lane. Hey, I ask you: what’s sexier than coasting past red Ferraris snarled in traffic?

But of course there are downsides to Prii…with the MPG display on view for all to see, my outspoken passengers, especially my son, now monitor my driving “performance.” Hey mom: low 40’s – you’re not doing so well today, heavy on the gas pedal, heavy on the break eh? I scramble for the right reply

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