Rachel "Sparks" Blackman (seattlesparks) wrote,
Rachel "Sparks" Blackman

Traffic Uruk'hai

I've heard a few questions about my usage of the term 'Traffic Uruk'hai', so let me explain.

See, I hate SUVs. For those who are fortunate enough (i.e. European) not to have this phenomenom have completely inundated your highways, SUVs are sport utility vehicles. They are hideously fuel-inefficient and create a lot of pollution, they are larger than any vehicle has a right to be, and they tend to have a higher number of fatalities in accidents involving them than many other kinds of vehicles. SUVs are basically a cross between an off-road Jeep and a high-end luxury car (and indeed, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was one of the first SUVs).

Now, I can see having an SUV if you lived in a rural area; they /are/ theoretically off-road vehicles, and if you're going to be driving around from your rural farming area on gravel roads to whatever the long commute into the city is, you want something comfortable. But the purpose of having an SUV in the city completely and totally eludes me. They're big, so you can't fit them into nice small parking spaces. They are hideously fuel inefficient; a good SUV gets about 8 miles to the gallon. (In comparison, my Beetle gets ~30 miles to the gallon.)

So, what benefit /is/ there to owning an SUV in the city? Is it the Magic of Untamed Wilderness that seems so commonly used in SUV commercials, where you see these things driving around in great forests with no one to observe them (except, evidently, a camera crew)? Do people believe that someday, they'll see a pathway into unexplored, untamed virgin forest open up to the side of the freeway, and that if they own an SUV they can jerk the wheel to one side (leaving a trail of trampled cars in their wake) and drive off into wilderness bliss, still sipping their lattes and sitting on leather seats as they see the world go past (and under) outside, right up until their SUV runs out of gas and they get to discover the Magic of Being Eaten By Rabid Wolves While Following Tire Tracks Back To Civilization In Search Of Another Latte?

So it came to me while stuck on the freeway with SUVs towering over my little Beetle, that these big, tough vehicles destroy the environment by their very existence (being obscenely fuel inefficient and wasteful) and anything which gets in their way or argues with them will be trampled or destroyed. They have infested the roadways of the nation, especially the Seattle area, and are visible almost like swarms when you gaze down on the freeway from a skyscraper. Hence my realization: the sport utility vehicle is the modern answer to Saruman's Uruk'hai warriors of Middle Earth. And so the term 'traffic Uruk'hai' was born.

I suppose that makes my little Beetle a Hobbit. Honk if you hate Uruk'hai!
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