True confessions of an SUV owner

I live in fear of being spotted. I find myself running across the parking lot of Title Wave Books, in sunglasses with my coat collar flipped up as if the paparazzi are after me. I avoid New Sagaya altogether.

I was not always like this. I am a recent inductee into the nuances of eco-guilt.

My husband bought an SUV. My husband – the same man who, a month ago was puttering through the streets of Anchorage in a Jetta, cursing under his breath about soccer moms in Durangos.

It is my instinctive reaction to proclaim my innocence by claiming my husband bought it. I live near and work on campus and I hate to drive, so bipedalism is my transportation of choice.

But I know I share some of the culpability. After all, I knew of the decision. I admit I didn’t do much to stop it, knowing full well I probably couldn’t have as I listened to him say things like, “Running boards! It’s got running boards!”

I wondered if he was envisioning gangsters in spats and fedoras crouching on the aforementioned running boards as they fired shots with their gats at the coppers who followed close behind.

As with most forms of guilt there are lots of rationalizations that I’m sure will mean nothing to those of you who drink green tea daily and own a 100 percent wool wardrobe. But humor me.

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It is a modest-sized SUV. It is well above current federal fuel efficiency standards of 22 miles to the gallon. And unless my husband takes an unprecedented leave of his senses, there will be no Calvin-pissing-on-whatever decal on it at any time. (Although I don’t suspect it will be sporting a “Regime change begins at home” bumper sticker either).

There are the non-rational reasons. I like knowing, not just hoping, that the car will start even when it’s 15 below zero outside. I like knowing I can visit my family in Seward because I have reliable transport. I like that I can have a real Christmas tree this year. I like knowing that my husband, my two dogs, a tent, a canoe and myself will fit (albeit snugly) in and out of the vehicle for camping and hiking trips.

I’m not a civically irresponsible person. I give blood. I clean up after my dogs. I vote. I buy unbleached flour. I even remember to recycle most of the time.

But deep down inside the eco-guilt nags.

The Student Union art gallery just opened a show featuring a confessional in which the public is invited to write their sins on the walls. Perhaps at last I can find absolution. If not there, then maybe here.

For those of you out there sipping mineral water from Nalgene bottles covered in Free Tibet stickers, I’m sorry. So if you see me climbing into my SUV, please, refrain from hitting me with your Prius or whatever ecologically friendly car you drive.