When fear of commitment is applied to rear bumper


June 18, 2008|By Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson

I never put bumper stickers on my car. Except when I do.

Then I tape them to the rear window, usually the lower left side, where drivers behind me can read them, but I cannot.

I have commitment issues. Just ask John Kerry, who occupied that temporary throne four years ago only to be peeled off soon after Depressing Presidential Election Part Deux.

Actually, I've never wanted to be one of those people who plaster their cars with stickers, especially out-of-date political endorsements that indicate your age bracket and (often loser) affiliations.

Don't get me wrong. I love to read bumper stickers. I appreciate the wisdom of the snippet "Who would Jesus bomb?" "01-20-09" or the classic "If you can read this bumper sticker, you're too close!"

However, like choosing a tattoo (which I'd really like to get someday), I just can't decide on any one thing. What if I regret it? I hate making mistakes. This way, if I change my mind, Scotch tape leaves less sticky residue. Besides, do I really want to be semi-permanently quantified, categorized, judged or labeled?

Pro-choice. Pro-life. (Taken literally, who isn't pro either?) Liberal. Conservative. Darwinist. Christian. Urban elitist. Suburban mom (whose child made the Middle School Honor Roll).

I do have other signs of sorts on my snappy red Subaru.

There is the small, square 89.7 FM sticker taped to my rear window, lower right. It's a tribute to WTMD, the eclectic public radio station that plays music - from blues to indie rock - without going all "Flashback Decade." Who doesn't like great music, commercial-free? Yet even that sticker is curling and bubbling in the heat where it's not fully stuck on. What if the station sells out, goes "Lite," and I'm still advertising the call letters every time I drive?

Still, I dare to hope. And, maybe, influence? For the past few months, my car has sported a placard: 451- the number of elementary students on the overcapacity rolls at Towson-area elementary schools. Supposedly that campaign won, and we are getting a new school. But with feasibility studies on the horizon, I'm taking no chances. For now, it stays.

Finally, as the 2008 election approaches, I've put a red-white-and-blue Barack Obama bumper sticker at the prestigious lower-left rear window spot.

Maybe drivers behind me will read it and say: Now there's someone who believes.

I hope they won't notice the tape.

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