Several years ago someone asked me if I'd ever buy an electric car. And in one of those rare moments when all my filtering systems drop away and I speak as though channeling the ancient gods, I answered directly from my heart with unalloyed honesty, "Only if everyone else buys one first."

Being in L.A. on Friday, I realized that day may come sooner than I expected. Those little hybrids are all over the place, and I can't tell if their drivers are part of an annoying, exclusive, self-congratultory subculture or a charming, inclusive, self-congratulatory subculture. Because it seemed like every one I saw had a cute vanity license plate. The only two I remember were OHMWEGO and CLNMSHN. Plus the one little teeny Toyota who seemed to be rallying his fellow little teeny cars to circle the wagons and fire indiscriminately at the enemy with a little teeny, somehow passive-aggressive bumper sticker that said in little teeny quietly screaming capital letters HUMMERS SUCK.