One of My Little Quirks

CarEconomy    economyDriving 

It’s no wonder I write quirky fiction. I’m a quirky person. Not dangerously so, I hope. Not yet, anyhow.

Since my wife, Kathleen, loves to tease me about this particular quirk–she dares to call me obsessive about it–I decided to share it here. I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Long before gas got so terribly expensive, I was a real Scrooge about wasting it. I haven’t changed.

When I go to Sonic for my daily diet cherry limeade, I use the drive through. I didn’t used to, but I’ve moderated my habits a tad over the years. But that doesn’t mean I’m less economical.

If there’s a car in front of me, I turn off the engine. Same if they don’t take my order the instant I stop at the intercom. And I turn it off again when I reach the pick up window.

Each time the cars in front of me move, I start the car and move, too. Then I turn it off again. I don’t know if this is a fact, but I remember hearing back during those horrible days of gas shortages that if a car has to idle longer than a minute, it’s more economical to stop and restart it.

Even if someone were to prove to me that my belief is inaccurate, I doubt that I’d change my habit. It’s too deeply ingrained.

Let me assure you of one thing, however. I do NOT follow that rule at stop signs or traffic lights. Safety comes first.

One thing I love about my Honda Civic is the equipment that shows me how economically I’m driving. One gauge shows blue if I’m being totally wasteful, teal if I’m only somewhere between wasteful and economical, and a nice bright green if I’m doing really well.

In the first picture above, I’m not doing very well. Of course, maybe that’s because I had to stop in order to take the picture. The gauges don’t function unless the car is running. Kathleen took the second picture while I was doing seventy on the Interstate. Green and getting more than thirty-five mpg.

Accelerating is tough. No matter what. A jack rabbit start–I’ll do one only for safety–is sure to be blue. But so is any and acceleration that’s not uber-gradual. I pay attention to whether I appear to be holding up whoever is behind me and may accelerate faster than I want to.

There’s also a gauge that shows how many miles per gallon I’m getting at that particular moment. It’s such fun to coast downhill and see my car getting seventy mpg! (The gauge only goes to seventy.) And I’m always clicking the “I” button on the steering wheel to see what my overall average is for that tank of gas.

People sometimes ask if I write about myself in my novels, and in many instances the answer is a resounding YES! In my yet-to-be-published novel, Impractically Yours, the female protagonist teases the male protagonist about having the exact same gas-economy practices I have.

Did I mention that I rarely let Kathleen drive my car? That’s because she refuses to pay attention to what the gauges are telling her about how she’s driving. Doesn’t that explain why she likes to tease me so much?

I told you I was quirky, didn’t I? Is there some characteristic of yours that others describe as quirky? Or do you have something to say about driving or being economical? How about sharing it with us in a comment?


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“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

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My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
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