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Polemic #1: Nobody Cares

OK, this one isn’t about long ago days in Hollywood or about growing up (finally) in New York.  This one is a little bitter, maybe even caustic.  It’s time to vent.  I vent because some people think they can make you care, and….despite their cloying efforts, you just don’t.

Stuck in traffic much of my day (no, this isn’t about driving), I have a lot of time to read the opinions on the backs of people’s cars.  I have been amused and happily distracted for years by some of the things I’ve seen, like:

Don’t be a pussy, get a tattoo.

Or,

Good cowgirls keep their calves together.

Or,

My other car is a Trabant.

And then there's always this

And then there’s always this

Very clever, well worth a chuckle.  And I am proud of my own, a little black rectangle with the Star Wars logo, but instead it says;

Stop Wars.

I picked it up in ’03 during the Iraq War madness.  So, get it? I’m a liberal.  I was able to play on both my liberalism and my love for sci-fi.  Honestly, it got better play back when I lived in Washington.  So, for the other side of the political coin, of course I audibly groaned when I saw these everywhere a couple of years back;

Romney for President.

Or even better, the W’04 stickers I still see somehow proudly displayed here in Georgia.  I still can’t believe he was elected twice.  Well, to each his own.  I may not sound like it, and maybe it’s easy to draw negative assumptions in political debates, but I respect a well-reasoned counterpoint to my views.  Or I should say opinions.  Someone once said, “Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.”  And I’m no exception to this – but here I must amend; everybody has multiple opinions, many many of them.  And it’s good, it makes the experience of life rich, and reading them on people’s bumpers makes me forget how mad I am that I’ve been sitting at the same red light for the last 3 cycles.  Except for the deeply disturbing ones, like;

If you want my guns come over and try to take them.  There are quite a few of those in Georgia.

When I lived in Seattle, this was a popular one;

Kill your television.

That one used to piss me off a bit because I watch a lot of television and I didn’t want to kill it.  I’d always think, “Don’t tell me what to do!”  Then I’d think, “Oh, OK, it’s all right, you mean well, this is Seattle, where we are always trying to help.”

Then, subtly at first, a line was crossed.  I started seeing variations of this;

I love my Rottweiler.

Or;

My son is an honor student at Ballard High.

This was neither something for me to agree or disagree with.  Both of these left me kind of flat.  But then I realized I knew neither the dog nor the kid, and that’s why I didn’t care.  I mean, who cares?  Being an honor student is kind of common isn’t it?  Why not do this;

My 11 year old can talk.

And just having a pet is just so banal there is no snarky example I can furnish.  I mean, come on.  Soon these types of bumper sentiments proliferated; before long I was forced to find out all about strangers’ kids and how they were doing in school.  Then came this;

My grandson is a US Marine.

So?  Who cares?  My uncle “Flew two bomber missions on D-Day to support the Allied invasion of Utah beach in Nazi occupied Europe.”  You won’t see me squeezing all that onto the back of my Ford Focus!  Does this proud granny want me to pull up next to her at a red light and roll down my window and ask her for “the deets?”  Hey how about this, have him do something famous and I’ll watch it on A&E Biography.  After all, I like the television (Chauncey Gardiner voice).

Lately, and by lately I mean the last 4 years or so, the “unctuous informers” (as I’ve been calling them the last few seconds), have really upped the ante with the stick figure family.  Yeah, you’ve seen it too, the crude family member tally that people seem to love to put on their car’s back windows.  Sometimes they even have to have pets depicted.  “Look, it’s our little family!”

Boo

Boo

I invariably grimace when I see these; I always have to pass the car in question so I can see what kind of person puts that on their car.  It’s like a table of contents for kidnappers.  “Two boys and a girl, got it, now let me just follow you guys home,” I imagine some ‘repeat offender’ out on parole thinking this when he’s behind those cars.  I mean, you don’t know who’s beside you on the highway.  Maybe he would X out one of the stick figures on his way out of the victim’s house.  Seriously though, at its best, it’s just too much information.  Nobody cares.  They just don’t.

The only thing that made this tolerable to me was seeing like-minded (to me) people putting depictions of the stick figure being blown up or bombed by fighter planes or aliens.  I still wouldn’t put that on my car though.

It reminds me of the line drawing fish people put on their cars, showing people they are good Christians. Nobody cares.  Again, this is not something that either invites agreement or disagreement.  Although I darkly suspect people with that on their cars get better service at the Christian Car Repair place.  The responses to the Christ-Fish include putting little feet on it with the word “Darwin” in the middle, or just the fish and the words “N Chips.”  These “fish folks”are usually the people leaning on their horns or cursing me when I’m cruising along watching a Yankees game on my iPhone on I-75.  Nah, I don’t really do that.

Then, somehow, in the last couple of years it got worse.  I don’t know if you see these a lot where you live, but they’re all over Georgia.  Death notices.  Actual mini-obituaries, usually inexplicably rendered in creepy Edwardian or Old English typeface.  Like they’re trying to make it cool.

Name of person – years of birth, death – pithy saying like ‘you will always be remembered.”

This is a person I will definitely NOT pull up next to at a red light and ask details about; though it seems they really must want someone to just that.  I could say, “Wow, how’d he die man?  Was it gross and painful?”  Or, “Crap man, you must be really sad, tell me about your pain.”  I’m not Deanna Troi, I’m not a paid counselor, thus I don’t care.

Would you want to see this on the back of a Triple A truck you called?

Would you want to see this on the back of a Triple A truck you called?

But the death notices are more than that, they’re offensive to me, in my mind they’re saying, “My loved one’s death is worth more than yours,” or, “I refuse to grieve alone, take this!”  And some of these are from deaths that happened years ago.  It’s arrogant, everybody dies, deal with it and clean off your window.  Or cover it with some old W’04 stickers.  I would respect that more.  Maybe I should get a sticker that says;

Die in private.

It’s not cool to try to make somebody sad when you’re attempting a left hand turn through a busy intersection.  I watched my mom die in Cedars Hospital in Miami 17 years ago but I wouldn’t put her memorial dates on my car because I know that seeing it and making me think about her all the time is still not going to bring her back.  And it would truly piss her off it if did.

If I were to draw an “annoyance line graph,” it would be climbing steadily the past few years.  Maybe it’s just a sign that I’m getting old and cranky, but I think not.  I’m still just as amused and/or appalled by driver’s constant opinionating and weird humor as I was when I started driving.  It’s the bland “famous lite” attempts with the stick figure family and the death notices that bother me.  It’s like “Bumper Twitter,” a need to tell everybody what you’re eating right now, or in this case, you got a new cat or daughter, or conversely that your cat or daughter died.  Challenge me to agree or disagree, or make me laugh or irritated, don’t just bore me with your mundane braggadocio.

I’m trying to dial back my resentment by transferring my dislike to all those two word stickers that literally every other car in the Atlanta area has;

Salt Life.

What the hell is that?  I mean , really, nobody cares.

3 replies
  1. Rc
    Rc says:

    “Stop coal exports” on a Prius (Prii) today…
    It made me pause and mutter about why the driver of a Prius would have that. Environmentalist? Or…just “please make sure that there is enough coal left to supply the electricity for my Prius”(ok this one isn’t fair because according to seattle city light, only 0.7% of seattle’s power comes from coal, but it’s still a fun jab.) Or…”I don’t like China”?

    Reply
  2. joe seely
    joe seely says:

    and those fucking “Baby On Board” little “road signs” suctioned on the rear window of asshat parents’ cars?!?

    Oh, shit. something important must be written there cuz it’s in the shape of official road signage. i better tailgate closer to see what it…KABLOOEY!

    i have a 2 yr. old and another coming any day now. you know who should give a shit about driving safely because of the “precious cargo”? Me. you know who doesn’t give 2 shits? every driver ever.

    am i about to rip by you in the right lane 10 paces before a lane closure, get set to cut you off, then think, “Wait, man. Baby on Board. I’ll just plow into the road grader in front of me and spare the little ones (who are most likely fast asleep and dreaming of nebulous shapes they cannot name because they’re dumb babies)? No, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to cut you off because I am more important than you.”

    Granted, these sentiments are probably wildly different in various parts of the country. The worst rush hour in Seattle is a trip down a country lane, stopping to say hi to Pa and grab some fucking cider at a roadside stand compared to NYC, where nobody really learned how to drive anyway, and Atlanta, where every mile may as well be a qualifying lap at Talladega, but you have a brother here, as far as being fed up with self-aggrandizing bumper stickery.

    …all that said, i will always “heart” the Wedgwood Broiler, and i have the bumper sticker to prove it!

    Reply

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