In the unforgiving food chain of the road, it is no secret that the Prius dwells at, or near, the bottom. Possibly only the timid Smart car remains subordinate to the despised Prius.
Personally, I have no problems with the Prius. It stands as a very fuel efficient and eco-friendly vehicle option. I don’t own one, but I don’t hold any hostility towards it. I will admit though, I have been guilty of treating the passive Prius as a doormat for my road relevance. When needing to merge into another lane quickly, will I slide in front of the sleek sports car or lifted pick-up? Or will I speed up a bit and cut in front of the meandering Prius?
The Prius, the Prius every time. I will stroll right up to the Prius and take its lunch money, avoiding confrontation with the bigger kids. In the general population that is the road, I will walk right past the big, bald, tattooed guy with the goatee doing pull-ups and proceed to have no problem punking the guy doing time for missing the court date for his noise complaint fine.
This isn’t personal, it is simply the primal acknowledgment of vehicular natural selection. The Prius gets eaten, along with the minivan, the Smart car, etc. They are the seals of the ocean, the deer of the forest.
My friend used to tell me about his experience driving his dad’s Prius, which his dad had smartly purchased for the simple fact that it is extremely fuel efficient.
Although, when my friend would drive it, he would be constantly harassed by “coal rollers”, the large diesel trucks that are modified to spew black smoke onto the cars in their wake.
When he would attempt to merge, cars would refuse to let him in, closing the gap and delivering looks of contempt and disgust as if he had just stole a five year old’s ice cream cone and told him Santa Clause wasn’t real.
He would be cut off incessantly, rarely being afforded the courtesy of a blinker signal from the offender.
Middle fingers directed his way were sprinkled in throughout his experience, ensuring sure his balls were thoroughly kicked and stepped on.
My friend just couldn’t understand the level of disrespect shown to him while driving the Prius. I just shook my head, explaining to him that he had essentially doused himself in chum and taken a swim through shark-invested waters.
This is just how it is always going to be right? The law of the jungle.
Recently, I have noticed something unexpected happening on the road now.
The Prius is fighting back.
Rising from the depths of shame and irrelevance, its drivers have grown sick of the abuse. The bully has pushed the misfit too far and forced him to adapt.
Instead of rolling over and accepting their inevitable extinction, the Prius has chosen to evolve.
In my recent experience, there is no car with a higher percentage of aggressive drivers. I constantly find myself reliving my friend’s incident of road hazing. Although, the Prius is the one holding my head down and giving me a painful noogie before dunking my head in the toilet. I even saw one the other day sporting black rims and a custom paint job. It’s as if they took a trip to the slammer and came out hardened and covered in prison tattoos.
No more easy lane entries in front of the efficient hybrid, oh, no. If I attempt it, I am promptly denied, my jab being swiftly countered by a stiff straight-right.
Just the other day, when attempting to muscle my way into a lane, I was denied by a familiar foe. Although, the Prius didn’t think it was enough that his counter punch sent me packing, he proceeded to merge into my lane and cut me off. In an attempt to reestablish my dominance, I merged over to speed in front of him, but my truck’s all bark and no bite engine was outmatched by the evolved Prius.
The driver then sent the finger my way as he drove off into the sunset, forcing me to tuck my tail between my legs and slink away off the freeway.
I can’t even remember the last time I got the best of a Prius on the road. Hell, I even saw one last week pulled over on the side of the road getting a speeding ticket! It’s like seeing the nerd in school get busted for giving people wedgies.
It isn’t just their aggressive, take no shit, confrontational driving tactics that amaze me. Despite everything, they are actually expanding their species geographically.
When I was driving back to college from home over winter, there was a significant amount of snow on the roads requiring chains for cars without all-wheel or four-wheel drive. My truck is only two-wheel.
So, as I am chugging along with my chains at 25 miles per hour through the harsh conditions, guess what happens to speed by me, cutting me off? If you guessed Prius, give yourself a pat on the back.
The driver even looked at me confusingly, as if to say, “what are you, some kind of pussy?” as he flew past me.
Those are just a few experiences that stand out to me in terms of this little car’s journey to redemption. I’m sure there are many more to come. Whether we like it or not, the Prius isn’t going anywhere. We cannot bully it into submission or push it into extinction. The Prius has seen hell, and come back to tell the story. It is a lesson to all, watch who you mess with, you never know how they might react.
We picked on the wrong hybrid, and we created a monster.
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