Monday, January 29, 2007


This week I’ve been dogsitting for my daughter and son-in-law’s greyhound, Charm. Every morning we leave the house at around six for a good walk, usually returning about forty-five minutes later. Because it’s quite cold right now, and because greyhound’s have short hair and are pretty thin-skinned, she’s bundled up pretty well in a fleece-lined coat. She also wears a fleece snood that covers her neck, her ears, and some of her face.

Anyway, this morning when we left I noticed that my neighbor’s truck was sitting in his driveway with the diesel engine running. He works for a company that manufactures specialized truck bodies so the vehicle is something of a customized, loud, and smoky thing.

When we returned, the truck was still there and the engine was still running. The air was thick with fumes and the constant chug-chug of the engine was annoying as well.

I don’t understand this any more than I understand it when I pull in to a convenience store and see all the cars and trucks sitting there (at zero miles per gallon, by the way; this is not tricky math) with their engines running. The air is filled with the stench of all those motors, and I often wonder how many G.I.’s will have to die in the coming months to keep those wasteful fuel tanks filled.

The point is, modern engines don’t need this warm-up, and our modern butts will surely survive those few minutes on the street or highway before the heater kicks in at full hot.

(That's a manufacturer's photo, by the way, and not my neighbor's truck.)


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