There is a saying that “how you do anything is how you do everything.” Actually, it’s a nice book you can buy here. I mentioned that here in this blog last September. Back then, I was in a writing frenzy, and actually penned a second piece – but alas, it wasn’t published by the overlording editors who run this site. Perhaps I was too critical of a certain webmaster that I happen to be married to…
But redemption has come, and I’ve been invited back.
The premise of the book is that the essence of your unique individual soul can’t help but show up in absolutely everything you do. It will always bleed through. So, just in the first 113 words of this essay, you might guess that I mildly enjoy challenging the status quo, sharing my insights to inspire others, and often relish in borderline exhibitionist “look at me, I’m the good one” – or as some prefer to call it, self-righteousness. And honestly, you wouldn’t be wrong. I do my best to contain it, but there is so much vitality and juiciness there, it is lifegiving and fun to play with it on occasion. Living an authentic life and loving (or simply un-exiling) your authentic self has a habit of doing that.
How many of you pretend to be other? How much fun are you having being that? How many shades of grey would you trade for a single burst of color? Serious questions to ponder. When you are done with this blog, take a 6 minute soul break and watch this video – http://soulbiographies.com/an-uncontained-life/ . I subscribe to this series and get an inspiring short film in my inbox every Monday morning. It helps start the week in a nice way.
And now for the segue – what in the world does that have to do with cars, namely hybrids?
The accepted social stereotype of a hybrid owner is someone who is crunchy green –totally in love with the car, conversant in every engineering design detail and optimization possible, and they have the four-color charts to prove it (and they L-O-V-E love to prove it). Hypermiling is their favorite sport. HyperSmiling, as it were – a little over the top, sometimes nauseatingly so. HyperSmiling – there, I’ve created a word. Hopefully carseatblog.com will trademark that and some marketing firm will pay handsomely for the rights.
The truth for me, is that I look at my hybrid as simply a mode of transport. There. I said it. I am not in love with my car. It runs great, gets great mileage, catches the eye of others – all cool and that – but please don’t approach me on the street and ask for my four-color charts. I don’t have them. Don’t ask for my opinion on whether the winter blend fuels for the upper Midwest negatively impacts mileage – I don’t want to care. And that whirlwind at your feet is the dust kicked up as I run like the wind to get away. It must be cat flossing day.
I know I’ve let down the larger engineering and green-fuel world, but I must be true to myself. I don’t actually want to know any more than how to drive the darn car and feel a smidgen self-righteous towards the rest of the world when I’m doing it. The rest of that talk just bores the snot out of me.
On the other hand, the amazing man I am married to loves to research – he loves to know every last detail about a subject, and to be the informed master in the room to guide others on their path, to help them make the best decision for themselves. It’s a talent I saw 20 years ago as he figured out what car to buy, what mutual funds to invest in, even what engagement ring to buy. (We have a book on diamond cutting in the basement for anyone interested). This should be apparent to any of you who have been reading his websites for the last 10 years. He has found a vocation aligned to his very essence – an authentic way of being in his own skin. Amazing, don’t you think?
So when it comes to hybrids – it shouldn’t surprise you that he knows exactly what sort of mileage we should be getting, and how we should be adjusting our driving technique to get that. Not a week goes by that this sort of conversation doesn’t present itself at the dinner table. He starts telling me about the subtle difference between ‘pulse and glide’ and ‘coast and glide’ and I, with my idealistic need to be “good”, smile faintly and nod slowly, and drift off to a fantasy world where I win a visit from Yard Crashers.
Now for a psychology lesson. The shadow side of “Mimi the Good, is not “Mimi the Bad.” It is “Mimi the crazed competitive perfectionist who needs to be good.” After all that talking about hybrids week after week, it becomes ingrained, somewhere deep within me, that if I drive my car properly, I should easily be averaging greater than 60 miles per gallon. And the fact that I’m at bloody 59.2 mpg is just a smack across my face – a gauntlet thrown down. My inner critic has been triggered. If I’m not getting 60 mpg, then clearly I have done something wrong. Clearly I have underperformed. Clearly something about me is defective. The shame, shame, shame. And with the crack of a whip, I start driving ever so precisely and carefully, and jubilantly celebrating ecstatically when I reach 59.3 mpg at last, and then cursing when I back out of my garage and drop down to 59.1 mpg. Damn the hybrids.
HyperSmiling my tuchus.
Enough about me. Are you a hybrid owner? Why exactly?