Gas is up, and my Prius is gone

WELL, it’s the end of an era. I’ve traded my Prius for a car that gets half the mileage. The timing couldn’t be better, too, as gas bubbles back over the $3 mark. Call me crazy — but I dumped it because I got tired of seeing myself everywhere I went. In every parking lot, I’d find my car and a half-dozen just like it. I met myself twice at Thornhill and Moraga — staring across the intersection at not one, but two blue hybrids exactly like mine.

Psychiatrists say you are what you drive. For seven years, I was a gas-sipping greenie. I traveled in pods with other hybrid owners, secure in the knowledge that I was making a difference. Now, I just want to be me. I want to break loose from the pack and drive something that people will notice. Look for me in my new blue Scion sports coupe. I’ll be the one at the gas station, filling up.

STICKER SHOCK: Speaking of the Prius, those coveted HOV stickers that hybrid owners snapped up in droves are worth plenty these days. Terry Broderick at Oakland’s Downtown Toyota says they can increase the value of a Prius by as much as $4,000, because the DMV isn’t giving them out anymore. It’s amazing that something so ugly can be worth so much. But then things look a whole lot prettier when you’re driving solo in the car pool lane.

BIG EVENT: Happy anniversary to the Lakeshore Homes Association, celebrating its 90th birthday on Oct. 6. My radio colleague, Dianne Nicolini from KDFC, will lead a procession up Longridge to kick off the event. Longtime Oaklanders may remember the train that ran from the foot of Longridge up the hill to the new homes in the Lakeshore Highlands. The Key System shut down in 1958 and was replaced, with much protest, by the more modern buses. Speaking of history, Eagle Scout candidate Guy Hager will be taking donations that day to put up historical signage in the neighborhood.

ABOUT TOWN: My mistake for reporting that the Knitting Basket was closing in Montclair. Owner Rachael Jeffries says she’s got a new buyer taking over Sunday. After 10 years, it would have been a shame to see such a popular shop leave the village. But speaking of closures, J&J Hardware shut its doors, suddenly, the other day. That leaves one hardware store in town — the venerable Montclair Village Hardware across the street. It’s still going strong after 60 years.

E-MAIL BAG: Reader Ann Nunno says someone has been having fun with the stop signs in Piedmont. At the corner of Indian and La Salle, for instance, as well as Hampton and La Salle, we have “STOP Voldemort,” she writes. That’s Voldemort as in the evil Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter. I guess President Bush is off the hook — at least in this neighborhood.


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