What's Your Carsona?

Thursday, January 10, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

I spent a lot of time in the car today.  Most of the day.  Came back from Boston and then was a "man about town" running errands the rest of the day.  I tell you this for two reasons.

One.  i was almost killed by a short bus today.  Like full on killed.  I was driving on the normal one lane road toward the neighboring town when i see a short bus in the distance at a Stop sign on my left, looking to make a right turn.   For an ordinary car (or experienced bus driver) this is no issue.  In the same way that you are generally allowed to make a right on red, this bus's right turn should have no practical effect on me going straight on past.  I'm assuming that this is also what the bus driver thought when he/she began making the right turn with me only 100 yards away and closing.

What i didn't predict was that this short bus's right turn would include over 50% of my lane.   It did.  This precipitated an almost movie-like right-left swerve slash slow down, narrowly missing getting clipped by this developmentally delayed driver.  Seconds later my mind continued to race, picturing the headline, "Man killed by short-bus."  I spend a good amount of time trying to avoid situations that would lead to a humiliating death.  I just don't want to go out doing something objectively stupid.  And while this situation doesn't exactly qualify, it scared me enough to worry me.  Because, as my friend who i told this story to said, "I don't think they would report that it was a short bus." "No," i said, "but you all would.  And that's what counts."  he couldn't disagree.

Two.  i thought a good amount about the persona's we create when we are in our cars on the highway.  Our car persona, or, Carsona©  You are lying to yourself and others if you don't think that we worry/wonder how we look while being peeped by passing cars.  My carsona begins with my bumper stickers.  While most of my decorations are almost unbelievable benign (aka. a Schriner's medallion), i do have one emblem that has a point of view.

It says, in large blue letters, "BE KIND."  Underneath that type, in a smaller font, it says "In memory of Daphne"  who was a dog that passed away on St. John (the island) because of animal cruelty.  It is, literally taken, a bumper sticker about being kind to animals.  But, taken out of context, say, on the bumper of a random car, the message reads much more generally as a plea for a more loving world.  While this, at face value, seems like an unambiguous slam dunk of a message, you can imagine the dissonance created in other drivers when i (or my wife who has the same sticker) cut someone off or don't see someone in our blind spot.  Whenever I do drive more aggressively than i care to admit, i always reflect back on my bumper sticker.  I'm not sure if it subtly helps me to be a better driver/person,  or if it just gives me a good laugh at the mixed message i'm sending (usually it depends on the perceived innocence of the car driving opposite me).  Either way, my personal carsona starts with kindness.  And then, it gets more complex.

Here are the things i judge on a car before i even see the driver:  the license plate location, if the car has a vanity plate, sports team stickers, bumper stickers, evidence of prior accidents, college window stickers, the number of college window stickers, if there are stuffed animals or other nonsense figurines against the back window, any baby on board or family stick figurines denoting a large family, and whether i can see the drivers head over their carseat.

As I get closer, you judge whether they are on their phone (instant and hypocritical hatred of them), texting (might even honk at them), alone or with passenger, singing along with their music, or trying to look chill.

And i'm not even that judgmental!!!!  So i can only imagine what all those other ingrates are thinking.

My carsona starts with shades.  You just can't be cool NOT wearing sunglasses on the road.  I mean, come on.   It's like you aren't even trying otherwise.  What are you, using your car for transpiration?  Weirdo.  Then, my carsona pretty much ends at the music/podcast i choose to travel to.  If its songs of the 80's and 90's, you will pass my BE KIND bumper to find a sunglasses wearing white boy belting out the punk stylings of Green Day, Hall n' Oates, or Ani.  You will think, "that dude is rockin out.  Weird as shit, but rocking out."  And i think that pretty much sums me up.

Now if i'm cruising to a PodCast of say, RadioLab, you'll creep up to see a relaxed, almost bored looking, sunglasses wearing, white man -- calming driving his drone self toward the mainframe/his destination.   This one may be more correct than i care to admit as well.

At the very least, I think i could market the hell out of this idea.  i mean, i can already envision the commercials asking "What's your Carsona?"  And then using said question to sell you a whole crap-load of car accouterments meant to boost your automotive image.  They would probably go for an absurdist approach (a la Old Spice) and spew a long hilarious monologue about the different you's you could be if you were more attuned to your Carsona.  I mean, yo udon't want to end up a Carsona non grata.  *snap*

Man, if i used my powers for evil,  the chachkas i could sell . . .

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