At my local library, in the parking lot, by two of the spots near the door, there are signs that read, "Hybrid Low-Emission Parking Only."
Excuse me while I go puke, would you?
OK, I'm back.
Parking for low-emission and hybrid vehicles only? What kind of bleeding-heart, sanctimonious, snobtastic, douchey horse crap is that? I don't know who's responsible for the signs being there, but I think he or she ought to take those signs and that smug attitude and shove 'em right up a tube and ship them back to Boulder where they belong.
I'll give you handicapped parking spots, obviously, although I'm not sure why places like Target and Lowe's seem to think there are hundreds of handicapped people just dying to park there. And I'll give you senior-citizen parking spots. I'll even give you pregnant or mother-of-infant parking spots, if you want them. But hybrids? Please. Those signs seriously might be the most obnoxious thing I've ever seen, and as anyone who knows me can attest, I know from obnoxious.
Or maybe I'm just looking at it wrong. Maybe hybrid drivers really do need the spots near the door. Maybe their locally sourced, hyper-organic, level 26 vegan diets have left them so frail and anemic they can't walk an extra 20 feet or so to get into the library to read up on how to do even more to save Mother Earth.
At least, that's what the library might be thinking. That's not what I think of hybrid drivers, of course. I'm just saying it could have been someone's motivation for posting the signs.
Another sign I'm not fond of that is quite common in these parts is the one seen by some rivers that reads, "Fly-Fishing Only." Why? Why is spin-casting not allowed? I've never understood that.
I looked it up online to see what the reason might be and I really couldn't find anything to explain it, so I'll give fly fishermen a decent-sounding reason should the question ever be posed to them: Because the treble hooks on most spin-cast lures do more damage to a fish's mouth, and since the rivers are catch-and-release only (which I have no problem with), that would be cruel to the trout.
Even still, you could just put up signs that read, "Single-Hook Lures Only," and that would solve the problem.
No, I think the real reason the rivers are fly-fishing only is because all the twits who saw "A River Runs Through It" and went out and spent thousands of dollars on a rod, reel, flies, waders, vest, net and porkpie hat so they could stand in a river waving their arms back and forth don't want to be outfished by some kid with a Zebco rod he bought for $20 at Wal-Mart.
(Shh. If you listen closely, right now you can hear the sound of thousands of outraged fly-fishermen loudly proclaiming that they can catch more fish than spin-casters.)
Anyway, by now you may be wondering why I've spent two-thirds of this column railing against signs that have been up for years. Well, the reason is because my wife sent me a link to a story about a bizarre tale of sign snobbery run amok, and I decided to climb up on my high horse.
The story concerned a guy who attempted to sit down in a section of a cafe marked "Laptops Only" and drink his coffee and read a book, only to be asked to leave by some uppity barista. That made no sense to me.
The guy paid for a coffee (he claimed many of the laptop users had not), he wasn't using up any electricity and he wasn't mooching off the cafe's Wi-Fi network, so in response the barista threatened to call the police if the guy didn't vacate the "Laptops Only" section. I love that. The guy was ousted because he wasn't hip enough to read stuff on a screen instead of a page.
Unsurprisingly, the cafe where the incident allegedly took place was in San Francisco, a longtime bastion of all that is smug, although it could easily have taken place in Boulder instead.
It's all somewhat reminiscent of the South Park episode "Smug Alert!" in which dangerous levels of "smug" create a storm that nearly destroys the town after everyone starts driving hybrids.
But here's the thing: That episode wasn't fiction, people. That's what's in store for us if we start condoning reserved parking spaces for low-emission cars.
Todd Hartley parks his Hummer in both hybrid spots at once just to stick it to the man. To read more or leave a comment, please visit zerobudget.net.