Follow That Prius!Commentary • Science & Technology • Opinion • automotive • ISSUE 44•27 ISSUE 41•05 • Feb 2, 2005 By Kenneth Crafft Kenneth Crafft Quick, we haven't a moment to spare! He's already an entire public green space ahead of us. Right, sorryhe or she. There...that's him or her right there. That seafoam green car carefully signaling for a turn onto Maple Terrace Drive from Oak Lawn Boulevard. Yes, the one behind the new Beetle. Follow that Prius! Good! Maintain about a three-Prius distance. We don't want to spook him. If we do, we'll be stuck driving around Greenwich Heights all day looking for that user-friendly gas/electric hybrid. Easy here. Don't get in his blind spothe's certain to carefully check it before progressing through this intersection. He's turning right on red! Ah. Okay. Good thing he came to a full stop before continuing. We might've lost him. Wait a minute... In the Starbucks drive-thru! See, I told you. I don't care if that car is capable of delivering an impressive 60 miles per gallon in city driving, the driver is bound to stop for a half-caf, mocha soy latté sometime. What the...? Clever. Clever indeed! You breezed right through the drive-thru without stopping, huh? I knew you were slippery, but I didn't guess you had the guts to be impolite. Well, at least we know that he's spotted us. Yes, it's a man. I can tell by that lacrosse emblem on the back of the car. It's just above the endangered-species license plate, to the right of the anti-Bush bumper sticker. Now, watch this. I've seen it before. He's going to slip behind that carefully arranged display of Pier One imported craft baskets and then do a three-point turn in one of the REI handicapped spots. Told you. Now just stop here for a minute. Patience...patience... Cut him off in front of the Bed Bath & Beyond! Come on! Go, go, go! Can't this stupid Insight move any faster? If he gets out of the car and makes it into their vast selection of high-quality bed linens, bath accessories, and kitchen textiles, we'll never find him! Careful! Right now he thinks he's lost us, so don't squeal your low-rolling-resistance tires. Look at the little devil, zipping past the soccer fields at the magnet high school. He's really pushing that ultra-low-emissions 1.5L, four-cylinder engine, that's for sure. He's merging onto Falls Woods Road toward Martin Luther King Jr. Park! Don't lose him behind all these SUVs. Just do your best. Look at him, slinking down into the collar of his L.L. Bean Merino Wool "Blue Jean" sweater. He's about to wet his wide-wale corduroys. You'd better be scared, pal. Yeah, this guy's guilty. Granted, we all feel a deep sense of guilt for having grown up with undue privilege, but it goes deeper than that with him. Yeah, citizen, I've got your number. You've been thinking globally with that Prius, it's true. But you've been acting a little naughty locally, haven't you? Wait just a minute... He's driving right past the university campus? Give me the map! No, not the guide to the best local ethnic restaurants, the city map! Get on his impact-absorbing, eco-friendly, biodegradable rear bumpernow! Damn, he's using the high-occupancy vehicle lane! He's risking the fine! Where is he? Where the...? Damn it. The recycling center. That bastard. Just look at all the seafoam green Priuses in this parking lot! It'll take all day to check them all. Well, start rounding up the drivers. You've seen the fun part of the job, kid, but here comes the not-so-glamorous part. We're in for a long night of politely questioning the upwardly mobile and socially responsible. And to think that at one point we were close enough to hear the Putumayo world-music CD playing on his stereo. Damn it.