Making Friends with Bumper Stickers

Date November 29, 2007

Julie’s mother came into town for a few weeks on Wednesday. To celebrate her arrival, Julie and I made a run to Handel’s Ice Cream to pick up some peppermint stick ice cream. Handel’s ice cream is good stuff. There’s one ten minutes from us, and it’s open year-round. The first few times we went it was still late summer, and the lines were pretty long. The last few times, the weather has been nippier, and there’s been no line at all! It’s an order-at-the-window place, so there’s no going inside to get warm.

As it turned out, the peppermint stick ice cream…was due to be made starting the next day! Egad! That didn’t stop us from loading up on four pints of other flavors. And, I made a return trip this evening to get a couple of quarts of peppermint stick. This is not going to help our waistlines heading into the holidays.

But that’s not really the story. While we were standing at the window waiting for our pints to be packaged, a lady walked up behind us with a semi-sheepish look on her face. As she said, “Excuse me,” I was thinking, “Lady, it’s a good thing Julie’s here, because if you’re looking for directions, I work from home and know approximately three major roads in this town.” What she said, though, was, “Excuse me. Can you tell me where you got your bumper stickers?”

Truth be told, I’ve been wildly lazy about swapping out my left-leaning/Unitarian/socio-political commentating magnetic bumper stickers ever since we moved to Ohio. As a matter of fact, I was still sporting the same two bumper stickers that were on the truck when I arrived in August. That’s the same two bumper stickers that were shown in the pictures I took of my new vanity license plate a couple of weeks ago.

The lady really liked the “Democracy Is Not a Faith-Based Initiative” one. I was at a loss to answer her question as to where exactly it came from. I knew I had some bumper stickers from, but I was pretty sure that one was not. Julie was the one who snapped to and pointed out that the bumper stickers usually include the company’s URL in small print (nice marketing, as we were in the midst of demonstrating!).

The three of us wandered back to the truck and pulled the bumper sticker off. I said, “You can have it. It’s been on there way too long anyway.” I then grabbed the stack of 20 or so other magnetized bumper stickers from my car, and Julie and the lady (did I mention that she had a companion with her who was sitting in their car watching this whole exchange with a semi-perplexed, semi-bashful look on her face?) started going through them and writing down the different sites from which they’d been ordered. The lady initially protested taking the sticker, but she acquiesced when: 1) she realized that bumper stickers are a rotating thing for me (she was still semi-protesting when I filled the newly-created blank spot with “U.S. Foreign Policy: We’ll Bomb that Bridge when We Get to It”), and 2) I pointed out that giving it away was going to make a much better story (do you agree?) than just giving her the URL to go and order her own.

I eventually wandered back to pay for our ice cream. Julie chatted with the lady a bit — found out she has a sister in New Braunfels — and we returned home…speculating as to whether or not my mother will restock my collection at Christmas or not…

One Response to “Making Friends with Bumper Stickers”

  1. Your mother said:

    What a heart-warming, delightful, wonderful incident! And you also, as a by-product, showed that lady about magnetizing bumper stickers – it’s surprising how many people (your mother included) would never have thought of that on their own.

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