Categorized | The Word Of John

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Taking the fam off-road?

Posted on 14 July 2008

As gas prices soar, sales of SUVs have reportedly declined over the last months, but you wouldn’t know it from driving around here. True, the Prius seems to be the trendiest car on Main Street these days, but the SUV still rules when it comes to weekend warriors. Yesterday driving home from the city I was amazed at, first, the number of cars and second, the number of gas-guzzlers.

The westbound traffic was simply mind-boggling. As I passed the never-ending string of headlights, the only thing I could compare it to was being stuck in post-game traffic in the south on a Saturday. But in that case, the traffic is justified. Gridlock is expected when 90,000 people leave a football game at roughly the same time. It’s event oriented, sort of like when you slice your finger and there’s a rush of blood at first but then you apply a little pressure and it stops bleeding.

What I witnessed though on Sunday evening was more akin to uncontrollable hemorrhaging, like a twelve-year-old just took a grounder to the nose on a nasty hop. It was like a never-ending bloodletting. At one point, as I was driving on 27, I actually thought about calling a friend to see if everything was okay, to make sure it wasn’t evacuation traffic.

What was more startling than the sheer number of vehicles however was the number of SUVs. I probably shouldn’t have been doing this, but I was trying to count them as I was driving. I don’t have a total, but I’ll just say that from exit 60 to exit 70 on the LIE, I counted 147 SUVs and I think I saw at least one Panzer tank. It occurred to me that had a person from say, Holland, been in my passenger seat they would have thought the Hamptons were the sole source of global warming.

Where are these people staying on the weekends? There can’t possibly be enough houses in all of the Hamptons to hold them. How many people can possibly fit in a summer-share house? And are they driving somewhere I’m not, where they need to have four-wheel drive? I’ve yet to find the mountainous terrain in Amagansett. Perhaps they’re driving off the cliffs in Northwest Woods. I could only be so lucky.

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