Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What Does Your Car Say about You?

Ellie used to go to a big all-district preschool, and when I picked her up from class I'd frequently park near an older pick-up truck with a camper shell on the back that was plastered with fairly militant bumper stickers. Over time I developed a persona for the guy who drove the truck and why he was so frequently at a preschool during the day.

Naturally, I was completely wrong. The driver turned out to be a woman about ten years older than me. She was also, probably, a music therapist or teacher since I later saw her walking into the building carrying a guitar case. The first time I saw the person hopping out of a truck covered with angry, militant bumper stickers and walking into my daughter's school carrying a long, black case I admit that I was concerned. No shots were fired. I remember her because if I were playing a matching game, I'd never have connected this woman to her vehicle.

Fast forward a few years. Now I'm picking up Ada at a completely different preschool miles away from Ellie's old school. And I regularly find myself parked behind a shiny new XTerra with two NRA bumper stickers (one for the front window, one for the back, because the association is very important for all to recognize) and a flashy sticker crying, "Green is the new Red!" with a sickle and hammer icon.

My first thought was, wow, this person has no idea what it really means to live in a totalitarian state. I mean, I get that people who live in San Francisco might be annoyed at fines for not recycling properly, but we live in Missouri. Sure there's encouragement to conserve electricity and water, recycle, etc., but I hear a lot less about all of that than I used to. We drive our SUVs and run our air conditioners and buy our pre-packaged foods and really have a vast amount of control over how "green" we are - or are not.

I watched the other parents of kids in Ada's class closely, holding each one up against the XTerra and trying to determine who is the most likely driver. I settled on the family that refused to be listed in the class directory or emergency telephone tree. Once again, I was completely wrong.

One day, I held the door open for a woman leaving the school carrying a bag and a black guitar case. . . the same woman from Ellie's preschool. She told me that holding the door was unnecessary, then quickly and self-sufficiently strode over to the XTerra, hopped in, and drove away.

Mystery solved.

(As for the privacy-loving family who didn't want to be listed on the preschool contact sheet, I later heard the dad chatting with another dad at a class party about some of their favorite NPR shows.)


Anonymous said...

Never put stickers on your car.

Carmie said...

I know I shouldn't judge, but I do too.