Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I had the wonderful luck while driving home today to end up behind one of those weirdos that try to tell you their life stories via bumper magnets on the back of their cars. What goes wrong in the brains of these people that results in this particular brand of dysfunction? Do you think it find its genesis in early childhood trauma or is it a genetic thing? I don't think science is advanced enough to find the answers. Yet. Either way, I had to sit behind her at a light and was therefore forced to get to know all about her and her pathetic life, and it kills me, too, because this was her diabolical plan all along. She wins. She also has a personalized license plate that reads "Momee Go". The knowledge that this license plate exists is like a virus infecting my soul. And now I know so much about this lady, this lady who I've only ever seen her mini-van and the back of her stupid head. And now I will tell you... because if I have to know, then you have to know. She's a christian, she vacations at Bethany Beach Delaware, her kid goes to The Quaker School, she owns a great dane, she loves somebody with Asperger's, her daughter takes gymnastics, and her personal child rearing philosophy is this: "Children don't care what you know, they...." I couldn't read the rest because I had snow and iceballs accumulating at the bottom of my windshield. Plus I wasn't about to get in a car accident by trying to finagle my position to see the whole statement. Which brings me to my next point.

Shouldn't there be a law against some of this? Where do we draw the line between "cutesy" and "road hazard"? It's one thing to put one magnet on your car to promote some issue or cause that you're passionate about. But this level of advertisment is clearly pathological and potentially dangerous when you consider how much time I spent looking at the back of her car and NOT looking at the road activity around me. Don't do you dare even think about blaming me. Don't you fucking dare. I'm the victim here.

Here's another disturbing "car trend" that almost got me killed. The first time I saw one, it was on this truck. I had noticed there were some kind of letter appliques on the back window. I saw a first name and then some dates underneath and it hit me: That's a memorial of sorts. I had to see the name and dates. I figured the person being memorialized must be a pretty big deal. I was morbidly curious enough to try to move into the lane next to me to see it. I don't know what happened to me but I was like hypnotized. I had to SEE it. And the deceased person being memorialized was just some random lady who was like 60 or something. Sad and all, but I didn't even know her. I almost got in an accident for THAT. I know, I'm an idiot. But it's like reading the obituaries. I don't know why I do it because I usually don't know anyone who dies. But sometimes I'll recognize a mean lunch lady or a crotchety elderly neighbor in them, so it's worth it to be able to call someone and say, "Remember Mrs. Richie? Yeah, well the bitch is dead. You heard it from me first."

I guess I'm just baffled by this phenomen of people turning their rear car window into what is basically a tombstone. Why do they do it? Why do I read it? They win.

I refuse to put anything on my car. Not even a pink breast cancer ribbon, even though I have every right to do that, all things considered. I just don't see the point of it. I think everyone that matters already knows that breast cancer is a shitty disease. And if someone doesn't know that, then I doubt a pink ribbon on the back of my car is going to change that. Seriously, the people who know what a pink ribbon symbolizes already know about breast cancer. And people who don't know a damn thing about breast cancer probably don't know what a pink ribbon even means. So I'm pretty much just preaching to the choir. Or maybe if I were to put that breast cancer magnet on my car I'm telling everyone to feel sorry for me because my sister died of breast cancer. I'd rather just have a magnet that says that. At least it's honest.

What's also distracting and downright depressing are those makeshift roadside memorials. On the Bristol ramp to 95 a little 4 year old girl named Jasta was killed by a drunk driver about 7 or 8 years ago. It really is a sad story. So now they have a giant picture of this cute, smiling little girl who's, you know, DEAD now. And every time I drive by it I have a little bit of a panic attack. And sadly, somebody keeps putting plastic flowers and stuffed animals underneath it like it's a shrine, only its actually the side of a HIGHWAY. What ends up happening is the flowers get all bent and mangled looking from the wind and rain and the teddy bears get splashed with mud by the giant wheels of tractor trailers driving by. What kind of tribute is that? Poor Jasta.

You want to hear something else I hate? When people put those stupid baseballs on their car windshields. You know the ones...the ones that look like someone threw them through the window and cracked it? It's really a sticker with half a fake baseball protuding from the side. What the fuck is the point of that? First of all nobody thinks it's real. And if anyone does think it's real, their next thought is probably "Why does this asshole drive around with a baseball stuck in the windshield?" I don't know. Is it supposed to be funny? Who's laughing? In my opinion, it's worse than when people used to stick those stupid scared Garfield dolls in their windows. But at least Garfield appealed to the children. Or better yet, terrified them.

Last but not least, let's not forget the ever-precious "Baby on Board". Although the use of this disgusting sign peaked in the 80's and mercifully seemed to fade by the 90's, I've had a few recent sightings of it. This is alarming. I don't know if I can go on living if people start hanging this shit in their cars again. I guess what annoys me about it the most is that the sign implies that people get in car accidents on purpose. Like "I was going to ram my car into the side of you at that intersection but since I see you have a baby on board I won't". It also implies that the driver and particularly the passengers of the car are more important than the drivers and passengers in other cars. But isn't every human life precious cargo? Why is the fact that you're driving around a baby supposed to change how I feel about you and your damn car? I'll be careful no matter who is in the vehicle, because your stupid baby isn't any more important than somebody's 80 year old grandmother.

After the Baby on Board phenomenom, a whole host of other similar signs started appearing. The one I remember is "Bitch on Board". See, that's actually good to know. Seeing that sign, I would be less inclined to pass this driver aggressively. Or I might be more inclined to do that just to piss her off. A sign like that is basically an invitation to fuck with somebody.

Honestly, I try to drive carefully and respectully because I value the lives of others and sometimes my own. And I really do believe that if people stopped putting their memoirs on their vehicles there might be fewer accidents on our nation's roadways. If they really want to talk about themselves and their pathetic lives and opinions in a confessional, self indulgent way to an indifferent audience, they should just write a blog. That's what I do.

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