Warming to the Idea

truckI drive a pick up truck.

I chose a Tundra because they have great crash test statistics, and I needed something that could pull a small horse trailer. More to the point, though, I like being an old lady who drives a truck. It’s me, and it’s not what small town lawyers or romance authors are supposed to drive. The truck connects me to when I was a horse girl, and gives me a certain confidence where winter weather is concerned. “Bring it,” I say to the snowy sky. “Trusty truck can handle it!”

arcticxseaxiceI was recently scrolling through my Facebook feed, though, and I came across the image at the right. We’ve lost a LOT of arctic ice. The next thought in my head was, “I’ve planned my last road trip in the truck.”

I don’t need to drive a truck, I just like to drive a truck–and that particular beat up, comfy old truck. But I don’t need to drive a truck as much as I need for polar bears to have a livable habitat. I’ve felt a little guilty for not driving a hybrid, especially when I putter around the UK, where hybrids are the rule (as is gas priced at $8/gallon). But that single image has kicked, “a little guilty” into “resolved to do something differently.”

Pictures really do have the power to change our minds. If the recent political campaigns have proven one thing, it’s that a mind made up is nearly impossible to change. Facts won’t do it, threats won’t do it, logic won’t do it. Exit polls showed that most people had chosen which candidate to vote for in September, and nothing changed their minds. Not emails, not hot-mic videos, not debates. We go to the trouble to make a choice, and it’s as if our brains can’t find reverse, no matter how unfortunate that choice might be.

We sift all incoming data, seeing only that which supports our preferred option. Perception bias means we also contort data, even to the extent of mis-remembering it, to better justify our first choice. The more you rant at me about how dumb my choice is, the more tightly I cling to it, and close my mind.

virtues_450x2-450x675Two things, though, can get me to peek at other possibilities even after I’ve made a decision: First, approach the topic with a sincere agenda to listen to me first, without trying to change my mind. If you show me that your mind is open, that you’re eager to acknowledge common ground and acknowledge what’s true and right about my position, there’s some possibility you might open my mind too.

Second, use pictures. Ditch the rhetoric altogether. Find charts, graphs, photos, and other visual evidence and let it speak for itself.

I will try to find a way to hang onto my truck–just in case we have a bad winter–but I’m also going shopping for a hybrid. I got the picture.

Has an image ever changed your mind, or given you resolve you lacked previously? To one commenter, I’ll send a signed copy of The Virtues of Christmas.



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28 comments on “Warming to the Idea

  1. I am researching cars. The Jeep commercials showing the jeeps driving through snow and ice have made me consider buying one. The images made me think smaller is better?! I went to the Jeep and Chevrolet website’s and watch videos, looked at graphs and options. The Jeep does intrigue me.

    My Suburban is 13 years old. It’s going back to the shop this week (again). And the repair bills have forced me to think about a new car. Four-wheel drive is a must as I live on a private road (no town plowing), my driveway is a steep hill and I commute in traffic. I like having a bigger car for commuting purposes. And I have dogs. Need to be able to fit 4 crates and my dog show equipment in the trunk area. So a Jeep or a Tahoe might work.

    The next set of Suburban repair bills might get me to a Jeep dealership for a test drive.

  2. Your image on Arctic ice is stunning. Our choices really add up when you look at it that way. I need to print that out for my daughter, who is currently looking for a replacement vehicle. You guessed it–She wants a truck. Thanks, Grace.

    • If I hadn’t spent the last twelve years indulging my truck habit, I might not be ready to make a change. Fun while it lasted, now I need to put away my toys. We do what we can, and I will miss that truck…

  3. I can’t recall an instance where a picture has changed my mind, not really. And since my husband and one of our sons are scientists (and the others are Green Peace members), I have been aware of the arctic cap situation for years.

    We visited Alaska in the late 1980s and loved seeing the glaciers. It is my understanding from our friends in the 49th state, they are not the same. We’ve talked about going back next year to re-visit the places we loved. It would be too sad to see what has happened!

    We recycle and reuse and try not to use cars when we don’t have to…..and a hybrid is probably next on the list to help the planet!

    I drive a PT Cruiser. And feel a bit guilty about it lately. The car is perfect for me and what I need it for BUT…..well, a new car is probably in my future within the next year. Just not sure what kind of hybrid I would need to replicate what I have now with Ol’ Bessie!

  4. Your picture today. It inspired me to take my bicycle to church instead of the car. Small drops, but the ocean is that much bigger for it.

  5. Along the lines of the automobile discussion, when we were thinking about our son’s first car I saw a video of a smaller car (I don’t remember which one to be honest) being crushed by a truck. It helped me be happier about us buying my in-laws 14 year old Volvo for him. He was involved in a fender bender (with a truck no less) that totaled that Volvo, but he loved the car so much we ended up helping him buy another one made a year later than his ‘original’. Before moving him to Colorado, we replace my husband’s 16 year old truck with another truck. We still need the hauling power of a truck – though not as much as when we owned the horse. I was worried that between the old truck and the old car we’d have major problems getting our son’s possessions to his new home. The bright side is that the new truck gets better gas mileage and my husband works from home so he doesn’t drive every day.

    • I made a rule for myself a few years ago: Never leave the property in a vehicle to accomplish only one objective. If I’m going to the office, I hit the gym on the way home. The post office has to wait until I need to do a grocery run. No “just running into town for…” It can wait until that trip has more justification. I do work at home many days, and I don’t eat meat. I see all the trucks on the road though, most with one person in them, and know there’s another step I can take.

      • Excellent rule, Grace. I almost always run errands on my way to work, during lunch, or after I get off. That way my hubby can focus on work and just as important we don’t make unnecessary trips.

  6. When I go my new vehicle in 2008 I was very interested in hybrids, but they were not very available (would have had to wait many months), and I ended up with a regular Toyota Highlander – the extra seats & carry space has come in very handy. Next time I hope to get a hybrid.

    • My daughter drives a hybrid. We were considering a Corolla–good little cars!–but compared it to the Prius. The Prius had a much higher sticker price, but when we calculated what she was likely to spend on gas year after year… that Corolla was no sort of bargain after all. I had to see that on paper before I could wrap my head around it, but I’m glad we chose the Prius.

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      • AmieHello, as i know that the front wheels are not the pumped ones, do u think they will manage their way through the snow, i am not from the UK and the winter here can get quite heavy with lots of snow, will Verve be suitable for that? thank you

  7. We had to replace a vehicle a few years ago. Gas isn’t cheap on the Left Coast, but fuel efficiency couldn’t be my only concern. With a hybrid, you need to think about your cost of non-gas charging. What does your electricity cost and where can you recharge besides home? Also, will it meet your winter/foul weather driving needs? It’s no bargain if it can’t handle slick roads or bottoms out when the snow starts to accumulate. (Snow wasn’t an issue, but slick can be.)

    I also needed to consider being able to transport an elderly relative who isn’t all that flexible (or petite). Cars were too low to easily enter or exit. Crossovers and SUV had enough height to be easy on cranky knees. They also allow enough cargo space to transport a walker or wheelchair if they become necessary. I can reasonably see this as a vehicle that will age with our changing needs. Being able to stay with a given vehicle until it either wears out or sacrifices itself in the line of duty is more environmentally conscious than having to buy a replacement just because it no longer suits your requirements.

    And, yes, the decision to get an SUV was made after watching said elderly relative struggle to get in and out of the old sedan. It was easier for him to manage his much higher 2000 Ranger pickup, but the truck wasn’t a long term option.

    • Always the trade offs. I bought that truck because I’m safe in it, and I had to haul a small horse trailer, and I LIKED it. Getting my 96-year-old dad into the truck to ferry him to a doctor’s appointment? GAH. Wrong vehicle for THAT job!

  8. I used to go to Weight Watchers Meetings and they would have a rubber image of fat. To talk about fat or losing weight is one thing, to see fat, I find that to be a motivating factor.

    • My mom recalled her first day as a nurse in training in the OR. The patient was obese, and the doc pointed out to the nursing students, “See this? It’s fat. You don’t want it doing to you what it’s done to this guy…”

      Mom never had a weight problem, or forgot that day.

  9. Yes, I’m more than willing to change my mind if given enough facts. I read from a lot of different sources. I think age (would love to think it’s wisdom) has a big part of it too. I have changed my views from when I was young. Things were more black and white back then lol. I’ve also changed other’s minds on some topics but that was because they were open-minded too.

    • I’ve changed my mind on a few things, like the impact lawyering can have on a community. I used to think advocacy was the sum total of my contribution, for this or that kid in this or that case. When I run into those clients ten years later, and they’re grown ups, I ask them what they recall about having me for a lawyer.

      They never recall the legal outcome, or the result of my advocacy. The lawyering barely made any impression on them. They recall if I listened to them, if I returned phone calls, if I was respectful. Now I see that law degree not as empowering me to advocate, but as way to be a decent human being in a situation where mere decency can’t be taken for granted. If you’d told me 25 years ago that the rules of evidence just weren’t that important, lordy, would I have had my rebuttal locked and loaded!

  10. As a former director of education who used stamps images to enlighten and educate, I was pleased to find the Iceland stamp as part of your blog. Images, especially stamps, have great power to educate our minds and tickle our fancy.

    In addition, I share your aging truck dilemma. But it was fun to find another old lady like me who enjoys driving a truck!

  11. I drove a Volvo 240 wagon for 25 yrs. Over 217,000 miles. I didn’t want to give it up and I hung on to it longer than I should’ve out of sentimentality. It’s the most comfortable car I have ever owned and I miss it. I bought a SUV, but I have a golf cart and take the bus to work. Living in Los Angeles the car capital is daunting for a greenish gal, but I do my best not to drive the SUV often.