Maybe it’s just me, but the global mood seems pretty heavy nowadays. Adding to that, increasingly we may be finding that the Internet is simply no longer fun anymore. Heaven forbid. It seems that no matter where one stands, or of what persuasion one may be, there is plenty enough going on that is heavy and fraught. “What were they thinking?” is a completely perplexing question to be asking on a local and global level.
So, let’s not ask it that big question in that context. Instead, maybe we can seek some existential relief by refocusing the question on a largely inconsequential topic closely aligned with a subject we – at least those of us who have found our ways here – know and love? How about spending a few minutes wondering about the choices and thought processes some of our fellow drivers have made around the labels and statements placed on their vehicles?
That’s right, it’s time to dip into my ever-growing collection of “Whaaaaat? Did they really mean to say that?” vanity plates and bumper stickers (and a few other randomly-related signs). Things that make you scratch your head and wonder just how much thought the driver gave to putting this thing on their vehicle and then heading out in public.
I’ll get us started with a few of the favorites from my own personal collection, mostly snapped through the windshield as I’m stopped behind folks at lights. And then you can share some of your own.
Before going any further, this may be a good place to be reminded of the site rules around politicking and overt political comments. That could be an easy trap to fall into when talking about stickers and adornments, so let’s try just have fun and to stay away from that. As they say about pornography (we’ll get to that in a bit), you know it when you see it. So, it seems with politics. Be careful. ‘Nuff said.
The lede picture of the Saab 9-3 convertible pretty much sums up the idea I’m shooting for. On one hand, you have to hand it to the owner for not taking themself too seriously. On the other hand, one has to ask who wants to ride around with a “vanity” plate advertising what most would assume to be a not-particularly-sociable personality type. Furthermore, maybe that whole joke (if it is a joke) would have played better back when Saabs weren’t so thin on the ground, weren’t Subarus, and when they carried a cachet that maybe hasn’t been so much of a thing in the past 20 years or so.
This of course brings me to the somewhat popular (as far as these things go) affectation of putting a sticker on one’s vehicle that advertises the owner as simply being a not very nice human being. Frankly, this seems more of an affliction than an aspiration. I’m not sure what “Bitchdust” is supposed to be, but it doesn’t sound like something I’d like anyone to be sprinkled with.
There’s also something kind of weird about how all of these “Sprinkled with…” stickers (and I’ve seen many more than one) are in that goofy Disney font. Maybe they sell them at the Magic Kingdom? Which if true just seems less than magical and mostly just kind of sad. At any rate, I don’t know since I’ve never been there. I’ll just assume that there’s a joke somewhere in there that I’m just not getting.
Likewise, the above seems to be a thing that some aficionados of Chevrolet 4X4s like to be tagged with. I couldn’t call up a good picture that I had taken of one of these stickers actually on a Bronco, but I promise I’ve seen them numerous times. Last one I saw was imprinted on one of those plexiglass “bug guards” that was attached to the leading edge of the hood. It was printed in reverse so that either it would appear non-reversed in the rear view mirror of whoever the driver was about to run down (i.e., me), or simply so that the driver could amuse themself as they read it in the proper orientation as they drove.
A strangely self-deprecating affirmation, it would seem to me.
Speaking of automotive self-deprecation…I suppose that it’s kind of a positive – liberating and free – notion to embrace your lack of horsepower. Particularly so if you’re saddled with the AW70 4-speed transmission that is ever-so-popular among hipsters who cannot drive stick but who seem to love 245 wagons.
To paraphrase Huey Lewis, it’s hip to be slow. I guess. Nevertheless, the sticker on this Vanagon GL (it could have nearly 90hp! as I don’t think that it’s the diesel which has roughly half that) has all of the looks of something that the owner’s friends surreptitiously stuck on the back of their vehicle when they weren’t looking. Boy, will they be pissed the next time they’re inevitably back there pushing and see that someone put that on their car. Otherwise, it’s purely self-deprecating.
I love the straight-forward honesty, albeit with limited creativity, of the owners of this Accord I spotted in Chicago. I’m guessing that their child is legally named “Our Child” and as a family they enjoy spending time with their pet affectionally known as “The Cat”.
Sometimes it’s difficult to get a handle on just what an owner is attempting to communicate. My guess is that this VW owner – who I found just last week in Indianapolis – is offering commentary on VW’s quality control by advertising to the world that their vehicle is the “Unreliable One”. This does make you wonder what else might be in their garage badged as “UNRLBL2”. Thoughts are welcomed in the comments.
Speaking of confusion. It took considerable self-restraint (and unfortunate timing) to keep me from hopping out when I was stopped behind this CR-V and pointing out to the owner that they didn’t actually have an E91; but that I do! And then offer to buy their plate.
There are mechanisms for us to do that in Massachusetts.
Time and the New England climate have conspired to make it unclear whether this guy loves monkeys or perhaps what’s faded away isn’t a heart but rather the capital letter “C” (and hopefully not the numeral “8”).
Well, I do too…all the time; after all, all of us here are just monkeys one way or the other…I’m just not sure that it’s either remarkable or necessary to advertise.
Then again, if it’s flying monkeys that he’s seeing, then that would be worth noting.
In which case, the driver of this Kia I spotted in Western NY seems to have that possibility covered.
It’s rather unclear to me just what this person is trying to tell the motoring public. Yeah…ok. So…?
Along those lines, let’s wrap this up by imagining being the poor employee who has to drive around all day with this painted on his (or perhaps even worse, her?) work vehicle. I know that they say that all publicity is good publicity, but who really wants to people honking at you all day for THAT? Even if it is enclosed in quotation marks. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink…club you over the head with that double entendre eh?
Vanity plates, stickers, or advertising…head-scratching or smiles? Lighten our day. What strangeness have you captured out there on the roads?