Can’t You Smell That Smell?


With MINI E #217 in the shop for the past week (a “battery communication” fault) I’ve been driving a gas-powered loaner car, and I had déjà-vu moment with it that we all may be experiencing in the future.

To appreciate it, let’s head back to remember what life in the 70’s was like.

I grew up in a happy, leafy neighborhood where just about everyone shared the same experience: a house with a ¼ acre lot, a fridge with Peanut Butter, Jelly & Wonder Bread, a Mom & Dad who both worked, and at least one who smoked cigarettes.

That was our world, the only one we knew possible, and we weren’t inclined to question it much. We didn’t give any conscious thought to why our bread was bleached white, and we didn’t take any special notice of cigarette smoke.

I continued not to notice it when I grew up and worked in a bar, or sat in a cube at my first “real job”, surrounded by people working on the R.J. Reynolds account and smoking Camel cigarettes. I didn’t smoke, but it didn’t bother me that others did.

And then the bans on smoking came. And soon afterwards, when cigarette smoke was no longer common, I began to really notice it. Where once I was oblivious to it in an airless bar, I can now pick it up coming from the window of a car ahead of me on the turnpike. And I change lanes.

The déjà-vu I had the other day is identical to the above, only replace cigarette smoke with the smell of gasoline.

I’ve been driving an all-electric car since June, and I haven’t been to a gas station in months. But filling up the loaner car, I realized how little I missed the smell.  And where once I didn’t notice it, there I was rolling the window down in 40 degree weather trying to get rid of it as I pulled out of the station.

Where once I was only aware of the smell of gas while I was at the station, there I was at night putting my shoes out on the front porch hoping to air them out, and repeatedly washing my hands. My sensitivity to it has clearly shot way up.

I’m not suggesting we “outlaw gas fumes”, nor am I ignorant of the reality that gas offers a tremendously convenient way to power things like cars, boats, lawnmowers, etc. I’m just saying that once your reality no longer includes a weekly dose of gas fumes, you’ll be accustomed to it.

Just chuck this on the pile of reasons why for me, as soon as I am offered a reliable, cost-justified electric vehicle, I’m going to get it.

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One response to “Can’t You Smell That Smell?

  1. Amen, I sometimes even notice it when I drive into town in #458.

    And you know, I bet gasoline fumes are a major cause of cancer, etc.

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