As if there weren’t enough distractions on the roadways these days…. there are the phone calls and texting, keeping up with the social networks, email reading, and of course all of the new high-tech in dash gadgets that require at least a master’s degree in education to figure out how to simply turn the radio station, if you don’t have a master’s degree you can always ask your neighborhood 10-year-old.
With all the techy gadgets available, I find it surprising that I am most distracted by the old-fashioned bumper sticker. It seems to me that they have had a recent surge in popularity. They are everywhere. They’ve been modernized, no longer do they come only in the standard long and narrow rectangular shape of my childhood days, they now come in all shapes and sizes, many today aren’t even stickers in the true sense of the word, they are magnetic. In fact, they aren’t even limited to just the bumper, as they can be found just about anywhere on the auto.
I find the bumper sticker to be fascinating, entertaining, and insanely irritating all at the same time. Today I sat behind a woman who was driving a newer model Jeep Wrangler, and the rear was covered in stickers. The first thought that popped into my head was, that’s a newer car, why the hell would she gunk it up with stickers?? That can’t be good for the paint job. The remainder of my drive was spent thinking about the bumper sticker and just how much one can learn about a complete stranger based on what they put on their car.
The newest rage, which for some reason I find especially annoying, and hope is about as long-lived a fad as the baby on board signs of the 80s were, is the stick figures with each member of the family on the rear windshields. As if the mini van didn’t give your soccer mom status away, you had to confirm the stereotype by placing dick and jane like stick figures on your car proving that your brood alone makes up the entire backfield. I just don’t get it. One day I was behind a car driven by seniors and there were 8 adult stick figures followed by 10 kiddie ones, there were so many it required 2 rows. I found this particularly confusing, I wasn’t sure if it was intended to be their children and grandchildren, or perhaps they were polygamists????
As we enter a political year there are no shortage of political stickers. GOP, Democrats, Tea Party, Green Party, Independents, they are all represented. Some are tongue in cheek, some are pointed, some tacky, some border on bizarre, and others are downright hilarious regardless of your political affiliation. I was curious if there was an uptick in road rage as a result of all those loud and proud political supporters exercising their 1st Amendment rights, and as suspected, a simple Google search showed that there were in fact many reported cases of road rage, some going so far as felony convictions. Paint damage, depreciation, and potential assault, 3 good reasons not to jump on the bumper sticker band wagon people!
Every time I see a yellow and black Watch out for Motorcycles sticker I can’t help but think,wouldn’t it be ironic if a motorist were so distracted trying to read your watch out for motorcycles sticker that they actually hit a motorcyclist?? The my kid made honor roll at SuchandSuch Elementary School always kills me. I’m all for academics, but our school systems are running on bare bones as is, they certainly are not pony-ing up for the magnetic stickers, and that stickers life expectancy is sure to exceed your childs elementary school career, that’s a big commitment. With my luck I’d have an honor student turned teenage rebellion and that faded bumper sticker would be a daily reminder of potential being washed down the drain like dirty dish water.
Perhaps the most widespread use of bumper stickers today is our take on the country code. You know what I mean, the white oval with bold black letters that mean absolutely nothing. In Europe those served an actual purpose for travelers crossing international borders as we do state borders. Even they don’t rely solely on the stickers anymore as the license plate now serves that function. They probably caught on that we Americans stole the idea and did away with it. We use them to advertise everything from our favorite vacation destination to our support for breast cancer. At least the Save the Ta-Ta’s one is legible. It’s the random pairing of letters which has me mentally trotting the map that drives me mad. I wish that I could call upon symbologist Robert Langdon, surely he could crack the code!! Oh and what an adventure that would be!! Secret societies, crypts, helicopters, flames, and near death before figuring out in the nick of time that NPZ stands for Naples.
While some use their car as an outlet to tout their opinion on everything from their favorite vacation destination, political stance, family status, concern for bikers, or to cheer on everyone from our troops to honor roll students, I think I will stick to spouting my opinions in the blogosphere, saving my paint job and avoiding any random acts of assault. Today I would like to tout that I am Proud of my honor roll toddler! She can now change her own poopy pull ups!!
Till next time….Peace out! KP