When I was young I wanted a military Hummer. Then right after the Iraq war suddenly fashion Hummers were created (the first models were 2003). I think that right there summarizes why society drives me nuts. The first Hummers were diesel and had a fairly high towing capacity. The current fashion Hummers are no longer diesel and they don't have a towing capacity any greater than my husband's ancient Jeep Cherokee. Plus, does anyone take those shiny, chrome covered monsters off road or would that mar the fancy yellow paint job? (yes, yellow is apparently a popular color here in town). It's that giant-vehicle fashion that makes me uncomfortable while looking for a truck big enough to tow a trailer.
It's come the time that I need to get a reliable truck that will tow a horse trailer so I've been researching the smallest possible truck that will pull a minimum of 5,000 pounds but still gets semi-acceptable gas mileage. While researching this I thought I'd look up Hummers and was not surprised that they are pretty wimpy cars. They are popular in the city though, along with giant SUV's. I've noticed giant SUV's are popular with the soccer moms in my neighborhood. The same ones that wear the latest fashions, diet until they are pencil thin and say things like, "Oooooh, you know, my friend, Jill ... Jill Vedder. Oh yes, the Vedders are very close friends of ours of course. But don't teeeeeeell anyone, 'k?" Sigh.
Back to my point. We're shopping for a truck and so far all I've really learned is that trucks are really really expensive. And I realized that while in some social circles there is a big "I have to have a car bigger than yours!" competition, in my social circle there is a "I have to have a car smaller than yours!" and in fact, it would be even better if I only rode my bike everywhere.
So, My newest challenge for changing my attitude is to let go of my need to hold onto "status" with my friends and neighbors. I have been feeling like I need a huge bumpersticker on the back of my new truck that says, "I really do care about the environment but that Mini will not tow a horse trailer!!!!" But you know what, I do not need to make decisions that will "impress" my neighbors and people I don't know. I do not have to justify what I'm doing because I'm worried about what others will think. I am trying to get the most fuel efficient vehicle I can find that will fit my utilitarian needs, but let's face it, an F150 is not going to get the same gas mileage as a Prius. But that doesn't make me a jerk for needing that kind of vehicle for my lifestyle. If I need to take my horse to the vet, I need a truck that will tow a trailer.
So, when I worry about not getting a Mini Cooper or a Prius because I won't be "projecting the right image" I'm really no better than the people who live in a townhouse and never leave the city but feel they need a Hummer or a Bronco to "project the right image". I've been seeing that a lot lately around me - this need to conform in the left-wing, green-environmentalist circle I run in. A kind of peer pressure and closed mindedness that can creep in and take over one's psyche just as much with left-wing stuff as it can with right wing stuff. Just like the atheists who try to convert Christians and hate anyone who is not an atheist like themselves - they are no better than extremist fundamentalist Christians. Or an acquaintance who said today that PETA has a right to be assholes and be nasty and hurt people's feelings so it will open their brainwashed/numbed out eyes to reality. But if the same acquaintance saw someone with a right-wing agenda act like that he would scream "foul". So, it's OK to be an asshole and hurt people if it meets your agenda and as long as your agenda is the "superior agenda". Wow. I guess that makes me neither left-wing or right-wing. Just kind of ... lost and without a nice cozy shell of rhetoric.