Sunday, January 5, 2014

Reflections From The Winter Road

During my week or so on the Christmas road, it was great to see so many people.  I’ve always enjoyed people watching.  Shopping in busy malls, stopping for gas, going to church services, airports, even hiking out in the New Mexico hills – it was a solid week of watching faces in large and small crowds.

This is a neat time of year to notice what people wear.  It was fairly cold and gray in Indiana as we made out annual trek north.  People there know how to dress for the cold.  Parkas, stocking caps, leather gloves, wool scarves and mittens, tall black fashion boots, camo-colored woods trucking boots.  Lots of Christmas sweaters and sweatshirts with the cool new satiny accessory scarves. 

People like for you to know something about them from their wardrobe choices.  Even if their wardrobe is very limited.  I have a friend who only owns two or three pairs of long pants.  Literally.  So when he shows up on a 40 degree day wearing his long sleeved t-shirt and cargo shorts, it makes a statement.  Minimalist.  Cares about things besides clothes.  Simple lifestyle.  Doesn't mind freezing.

I hang out with lots of teachers so the Christmas sweaters make their annual appearance along with ornament-like earrings and other holiday accessories.  I actually own a bright red cotton sweater – a gift, as almost all of my clothes are.  Yep, I wore it a couple of times during the last week of school.  My own little nod to the season.  I’ll wear it again on Valentine’s Day (if I remember).  It’ll be on the bottom of my sweater pile by then.

Another way for folks to demonstrate who they are and what they believe is by the slogany t-shirts they wear.  Over the holiday, I saw a lot of Duck Dynasty wear.  My guess is that it’s been out there for as long as that unusual show has been on the air.  I’ve never seen it.  I can’t-wait-to-miss-it every week.  But a lot of people are showing their solidarity with the worldview of Phil Robertson (a name I was blessedly ignorant of just a month ago).  It would be tempting to write a post about this guy and how so many people feel that his “Biblical views” are preventing the ruination of our culture.  Yeah, right.  Consider this nugget on the benefits of men marrying teenagers. 

“Look, you wait till they get to be twenty years old – the only picking that’s gonna take place is in your pocket.  You gotta marry these girls when they’re about 15 or 16.”

Now that’s class.  Biblical too, right?  I hope to God this nut-job doesn’t represent the ideals of Middle America.  If so, we are in trouble. 

A couple t-shirts I saw with DD slogans said,
Never insult a man’s beard: Them’s Fightin’ Words
Trust Family – Everyone Else Is Suspect

Check out this t-shirt we spotted in a Bass Pro Shop.

This one is a little confusing.  “My Flag”?  Really?  Not very patriotic is seems to me.  Does this guy not salute the American flag (as in the 50 stars and bars)?  Does he think the SOUTH IS GONNA RISE AGAIN!?  Is he a firm believer in defending slavery (sorry, I mean “state’s rights”)?  Also confusing is the notion that “his” flag is on an ass.  I mean I get the double meaning… ass/ass.  But if “his” flag is wrapped on an ass and he wants you to kiss it if you don’t like it, doesn’t that make him the ass?  Just asking.  I’m sure that I’m reading too much into it.

Another form of powerful self-expression is the old bumper sticker.  You really have to believe in something to be willing to drive all around with your ideas showing for friends, neighbors and perfect strangers.  It's what David Crosby called "letting your freak flag fly".  Often, I am curious about what a person looks like based on the words I read from behind and I’ll try to catch a glimpse of them as I drive by.  I just can’t help myself.  Will they look like one of the shaggy guys from Duck Dynasty if they have a bumper sticker with the words SQUIRRELS - NATURE'S SPEED BUMPS or KEEP HONKING, I'M RELOADING?  While on the road, I jotted down several bumper messages while I was in the passenger seat.  While I was driving, Devin jotted down some interesting ones.

Her is a short list of anti-Obama stickers.

This definitely represents a bold personality.  Someone who doesn’t care if you know how much he despises Obama.  Free speech, right?  This one says, I disrespect our president, and, I am not afraid to show my ignorance as a firm believer in the totally disproved birther movement.  The more it's proven to me that Obama was born in Hawaii, the less likely I'll ever believe it.

OK, a cute little play on words.

Direct.  To the point.  No guessing where this person stands.

How about TREES ARE THE ANSWER?  Interesting.  Leaves the question to the reader.

I’M SPEEDING BECAUSE MY KID HAS TO POOP.  Funny, but I’m not sure it would help with a traffic-stop-cop.

Of course there were some from gun lovers…
For sure.  I’m almost positive that it is a scientifically proven fact that the more guns out there, the safer we all are, right?

Interesting analogy.  As in, even if there were no spoons there would still be overweight people.  Because they would use their fingers to eat all that food that makes them fat.  Or forks.  So you could apply that logic to guns.  If there were no guns then people would still probably kill each other.  They could use their hands, right?  Hard to rob a store with a spoon though.

Next Time: Images of Santa in the beer section and even more cool bumper stickers from the winter road. 

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