Well there must have been an accident on Interstate 95 this morning. Traffic was backed up for miles leading to the on ramp. Though I was not headed to the interstate, the route to my destination took me right into the bumper to bumper fray. It would be a little slow going, but eventually, I would get beyond the bottle neck and be on my merry way. And, I would be so grateful that I would not be north bound on I-95! But, until I could get past all of the congestion, I was “stuck” and would use the time to practice some deep breathing techniques in an attempt to keep myself in a tranquil state. I heard a still small voice, which sounded a lot like my wife, say; “Yeah, good luck with that.”
So, I was at one of the nine million traffic lights between my home and my destination. Stopped in a line of others cars, packed in like cattle waiting for the gate to open. While stopped there, I began to glance around at the people on all sides of me. Many were engaged in a variety of activities ranging from sipping coffee to picking their nose. Helpless sheep following other sheep to the jobs they don’t like and driving like the actually can’t wait to get there! The whole thing is just laughable. I chuckled to myself and went back to my gawking when I spotted it.
There it was stopped right in front of me. You have seen it. It is an older compact car that is bellowing smoke from burning too much oil. It is the car with the window tinting peeling off and whose primary color is primer. That car! And, which has its entire rear end held on by bumper stickers! I mean the entire back end of the car is plastered with bumper stickers. So, I do what everyone does when parked behind such a vehicle—READ THE BUMPER STICKERS!!
You can tell a lot about a person who decorates their car with bumper stickers. In fact, according to a study by William Szlemko, social scientist at Colorado State University, people who personalize their cars with bumpers stickers, decals, or personal plates are more aggressive drivers than those who don’t. They see their car as an extension of their home. And hard wired into our genetic makeup is the tendency to defend our personal territory from invaders. And, it doesn’t matter if the bumper sticker says pray the rosary or car protected by Smith and Wesson. Maybe I should back my car up a little bit. Don’t want to get into Lee Harvey’s personal space.
But there are other things you can determine about a person by their bumper stickers. Their views on politics, religion, and even honor students are displayed for the drive by world to see. It isn’t hard to understand where a person is coming from when their ideology is brazenly attached to their car by an adhesive backed decal. They want you to know what they think whether you are interested or not. Think about it; a person’s world view can be summarized and displayed on a bumper sticker!
I must say that the car in front of me is definitely enjoying his freedom of speech. That’s his right. In a moment I will drive past him and may never see him or his stickers ever again. But as I do, I cannot help but feel that according to his stickers, his life is empty and full of anger. He is disillusioned and wrestling with a sense of hopelessness. Perhaps his stickers are a cry for help. Perhaps he is longing for attention. And, whether he gets it in a positive or negative form is irrelevant to him. He may just need to get it any way he can.
The next few blogs I will be posting will be based upon some bumper stickers I have read while caught in traffic. Some may feel that the language used in some of these fort coming blogs to be offensive. Hey, I’m just stating what is read by you every day in traffic. You have the choice to read or drive by. I am simply using a common means of communication to discuss perceptions that people hold regarding life. So, buckle up kids. We are going for a ride and read what is plastered on the car in front of us.