Even though school has barely started, stores have begun to display both Halloween and Holiday items on the shelves. Every year, we shake our collective heads at how early this merchandise appears, but the marketing whizzes win, and out the goods come. I’ve become immune to this.
But I do have a pet peeve that I’ve yet to become numb to. I really feel like personal beliefs and holiday celebrations should be limited to Facebook pages and front porches. I see no reason to put a Styrofoam pumpkin atop a car antenna (do cars still have antennae?) or, worse yet, reindeer antlers on the door and wreaths on the grilles. I’m not a curmudgeon; I guess I just don’t get why the holiday festivities need to extend to our vehicles.
Ditto with personal missives. I drove from Stop and Shop all the way down to Winslow Park the other day, wondering why the driver in front of me had to advertise, via a bumper sticker on the rear hatch window, “I LOVE BACON,” with a bright red heart in place of the word “love.” Did the owner/operator work for the Pork Lobby? A cardiologist trying to pump up business (pun intended)? I just couldn’t figure it out and felt, as a vegetarian and nutritional consultant, mildly annoyed.
Or, and I know I’m bound to take heat for this, I don’t need to know what sport each child plays or which honor roll they’ve made. I often wonder: If they make the honor roll one semester but fall abysmally off the next, do the parents peel said announcement off the glass with “GooGone”? Or maybe just tape over it in hopes of a better quarter to come?
There are environmentally friendly messages. Stickers advertising where the driver exercises obsessively. Religious missives. Political plugs. I just feel like there is enough noise of all kinds – visual and aural – especially whilst driving that we don’t need to know where everyone vacations or what types of dogs they own.
Now, those who know me will be calling me a complete hypocrite by now. And I deserve it. My car is not completely propaganda-free. I have a vanity plate that conveys the Sanskrit greeting that closes every yoga class I take or teach. Namaste roughly translates to “ the light in me honors the light in you.” I feel like it’s a much nicer message to give to fellow drivers than, say, the middle finger we are often treated to if we fail to gun the gas quickly enough as the light turns green. The plate also helped the kids find my car in the pick up queue when they were younger. I might not get a vanity plate again if I were registering a new car, but as automotive messages go, it’s not promoting or selling anything except kindness.
Also, I have diminutive stickers for each son’s college (one also my alma mater and the other also their father’s) on the small vent windows on either side of the back seat. I was so proud of my boys’ efforts all through school and wanted them to know it after all the angst associated with the application process. But the fact is, one has graduated, and the other is a senior, so we have long passed the moment of jumping for joy at their acceptance letters. Well, emails, really. So today I will take my razor scraper and my own bottle of GooGone and remove them.
The plate stays, so everyone on the road will have to suffer through my cheery greeting. But I promise no scary spider webs, turkey tails, or jingle bells.