Over the course of the last 4 months driving a Smart Car I have learned a few important things. First of all, everyone is going to look at you. The friend who owned one and showed me the wisdom of owning one described it as "now you know how a hot chic feels" which is accurate. Insensitive perhaps, but accurate. Another friend theorized that since more often than not Smarts are driven by good-looking women the reason everyone looks is to see the driver. This is not accurate for a few reasons, one is of course that good-looking women look, too. The other is that almost every time I come out of a store to get back into my car there is someone looking at the driverless vehicle. A side note to this is that I feel like I need to keep the car washed and waxed. I've never seen a Corvette, a Porsche, or even a BMW that was covered in bugs and road tar. People have expectations of vehicles and drivers do, too.
You have to have thick skin to drive a Smart Car. Everyone has a joke for you. How many hamsters under the hood? What do you do when the wind blows? Oh, there's an engine? I thought you just poked your feet through the floor. Of course the best way is to joke back. Cutting them off by telling them the joke they've come up with serves two purposes. One it tells them you have heard it before (saving you the discomfort of hearing it again), and two it tells them that you, too, can understand the need to comment about something so different (and foreign) to what we all have.
One thing about joking back is that none of the jokers think it to funny when I tell them I "only" get about 40 miles to the gallon. I saw a Consumer Reports list which had 8 cars listed as getting better gas mileage. Those 8, as well as the next 2 below the Smart, had one thing in common--they were either all-electric or hybrid. There is no better mileage from a straight gas burning vehicle according to their list.
Being different always has its difficulties. You stick out, people make fun of you, but it has its advantages, too. Maybe my wallet isn't as fat as it could be or even fatter than most, but it's certainly fatter than it could be. Maybe the tank isn't as big as some, maybe some tanks are as big as the car, but it goes further on that tank than anyone else.
As usual, it's not about the car.