I took my car in to get a little bodywork… I rented a car from Enterprise. They rented me an enormous Mercury, the “Sable.”
It’s completely ridiculous- I can only imagine the size of the usual owners of this car. I feel like I’m in Robotech when they are trying to use the spaceship built for the Zentraedi, who are 50 foot alien giants.
I told one of my coworkers about this car, and he started doing the “Quantity Assurance” voice- once when he was a little preoccupied he referred to QA as Quantity Assurance instead of Quality Assurance. I immediately started doing this big fat person voice, sort of drooling a little-
Well try that button now. It didn’t work? Well, we’ll just pack more features into the product, I’m sure some of them will do something.
So it’s a running gag now, a shorthand for the big fat American sucking at the teat of excess. Consume 4000 calories a day, drive a SUV, live on credit, have no notion of want vs need.
In related news, I explained Peak Oil to the drivers at Enterprise. They sort of got it. Ironically, I think car rental companies would actually benefit from the reduced car ownership that could follow from jacked up oil prices: it’s hard to take the train to a picnic.
The funny thing about the economics of oil is no matter how politicized the facts get, they are still facts. You could make excuses for why oil prices go up, or claim that food prices going up with oil costs is a coincidence, or blame regulation on rising costs of biotech research… but those things will still go up when oil prices rise. And it’s not a coincidence.
Our dependence on oil is amazingly complete- very few elements in our economy could currently survive without it. That is not to say this is impossible- I think almost without exception any industry could be retooled to use less or even no oil. Maybe this will be the next “Organic” stamp- “Made without dependence on Oil.”
Example- Biotech is predicated largely on the cheapness of plastic, sterile plastic for instruments or containers. But we used to use glass. If we rebuilt the glass industry, this would create more local jobs (shipping glass is more expensive) and the glass could be melted down and recycled- currently used plastic is “medical waste” and for the most part is just thrown in landfills.
Yes, there is a point to this- the US Government is our Quantity Assurance manager. The government is essentially motivated to preserve “our way of life”- which includes consuming huge amounts of oil. The emphasis is not on Quality- the efficiency of using oil, like say in public transit systems or in experiments like the biotech glass example I just pulled out of my butt. Quantity. Quantity over Quality.