Engine-Idlers: Please STOP!

I wish I had the guts to tell the driver of the fat shiny pickup truck that’s been idling in front of my house for 30 minutes: “Look, you are welcome to park here, you can even use my parking pass so you won’t get a ticket — but will you PLEASE shut off your engine???!”

Something tells me gas money is no
object to this fancy lad. I always want to ask these engine-idlers, “Are you Jeff Bezos or Donald Trump or what???”

Sadly, many of the engine-idlers I see in front of my house are obviously NOT wealthy. Yet somehow don’t mind burning gas to sit still. They make the air around them hotter for the rest of us, while they sit inside their A/C bubble.

Possible constructive responses:

• Knock on the person’s window and offer them a cookie (I didn’t have any cookies to offer or might’ve tried this). Doesn’t necessarily get the person to turn off their engine, but it might! And either way, a human connection is made.

• Knock on the person’s window and ask if they need to park, reassure them they can park and won’t get in trouble because “Here, you can use my parking pass.” I’ve actually done this before, and although it didn’t result in the person turning off their engine and they said no thanks to borrowing the parking pass, it did result in an atmosphere of kindness and connection, which the world needs even more than it needs people to shut off their engines when parked.

• The shiny new pickup’s windows were tinted super super dark; impossible to see who or what was inside other than a male driver. I could have generated a state of inner peace by telling myself, “There might be a dog or other pet in there who is sick; the guy is keeping the AC on for his furbaby while he calls around to try to make a vet appointment,” or “The poor guy was dehydrated, feeling sick and faint, so he pulled off the road to recover,” or any number of other possibilities other than “This person doesn’t care.” Because really I just had no information; only my own attitudes.

Oh! And if when this happens again, I could always knock on the person’s window and offer them a glass of water, ask if they are OK, etc.

Further Reading:

• “Attention Drivers! Turn off your idling engines” (Environmental Defense Fund).

Car Talk: Idling Doesn’t Hurt Engine But Has No Point (dispatch.com)

• I assumed this was only a problem in my resource-hogging country, but apparently it’s an issue in other places too, including even my favorite resource-conscious island countries Japan and the U.K.