Idle Hours Idling
By Robert Lovenheim
Every morning we drive to the school bus stop and wait to see what time the bus will arrive. 8:31 today, place your bets. It’s a good game for a six-year-old or older, and what better way to introduce kids to a game of chance? Why with luck my daughter could grow up to be a Vegas high roller. 8:32 today, you lose! I’m less concerned with the stakes (sometimes we bet an ice cream for after school) than I am watching the exhaust rising from the other ten cars in line while they wait (I wonder if they are playing bus arrival sweepstakes too?) Come on, it’s only fall — not cold enough to need to run your engine to keep from shivering while waiting for the bus.
Yet most of my neighbors never think to turn off their cars during the five or ten minutes they sit idling and waiting. You would think that even those who care nothing about polluting the atmosphere would care that gas for their SUV is now at least $3.50 a gallon (for regular). But the price of gas or the bigger price of pollution doesn’t seem to make any difference.
I feel like getting out of our car and going window to window screaming “turn off your engine.” But I know where that would get me in 21 Century America…in jail as some crazed old fool.
How do we get people to change habits? How do we get people to THINK about what they are doing? How do we get people to take some tiny measure of responsibility? I don’t know anymore. But then, I am just a crazed guy who will be carted off one day for suggesting that people turn off their engines while idling at the bus stop.