A car covered in stickers is a person wanting to be known
We were driving north from Portland toward Tacoma today, when we passed a small import. Maybe a Toyota Yaris. Not sure, because the car was blanketed in stickers.
At 75 mph, and hands on the wheel, I didn’t have time to write down an inventory of what this person had put on their car. I made a crack, that if it wasn’t for the stickers, the car might fall apart. It was fairly new. To most people, that’s when you want to avoid the stickers and put your shiny new-car face out to the world. But this person (no idea if male or female) had covered the side rear windows and rear window and some of the trunk and rear bumper with stickers.
I commented about the absurdity of it all, but my wife saw something more.
“Everybody wants to be known,” she said. “They want their friends and even people who aren’t part of their life to know who they are, what they care about, what matters to them.”
To her, stickers are way to put it all out there. To make sure they don’t die without having had a chance to assert their likes and dislikes, their loves and loathings.
To assert one’s individual salad of preferred flavors. To deny anonymity. To pre-empt the disinclination of most people to peel back the layers of those they meet.
My wife and I talk often about the types of people we meet. Some show genuine curiosity. They ask questions about you, sincerely want to learn who you are and what you love.
Others couldn’t give a shit. They are more than happy when you inquire of them and their lives, their loves and loathings, their kith and kithin’ kin. Interrogate them until the cows come home, but once you stop, they go mute. They don’t know what to do next, when the spotlight fades. They never show any interest in others. They are all sticker, no car.
In Tacoma later that week, a good longtime friend of ours would be attending a memorial for her brother. He died at age 67. She wrote his obituary, celebrating his engaging personality and a successful career in business, much of it focused on boats built in and around Tacoma for use in the Puget Sound and the fertile fishing waters of Alaska. He was a genial, engaging guy. And gone.
I never knew him or had the chance to engage before he passed. But I wish now that I could see his car. What sort of stickers did he put on his Tesla? Or Subaru? Or did he forswear such gauchery? And if he did, how did he pass to the next level with any confidence that he was known?
His sister knew him. Her obituary described a person well worth knowing. Nothing about his choice of car.
One’s choice of car says much to the world in which it rolls. Grandfather types of a bygone generation buy Buick aind Oldsmobile. Hipsters or a more recent vintage buy Hummers and sprinter vans, to present a gallery of toys to a discerning public.
Stickers take it to another level. I want to meet a guy with a Freaks for Bernie and an AC/DC and a Doobie Doobie Do sticker. Tarkio Road, dude. Right on. Tight fence. Give my regards to the Big Guy. See you when we meet the Spirit in the Sky.