People on the Highway

I love cars covered in bumper stickers for bands.  Cars covered in band stickers are never new cars, not always the cleanest cars, but they are above and beyond the most well loved cars on the road.  The ranking of beloved cars goes 15 Year Old Pontiac Covered in Band Bumper Stickers, Just Purchased Bently Approaching a Flock of Geese, Mid-Life Crisis Corvette, Mini-Van That Needs to Last Just One More Year…then everything else.

Driving along the other night a beat down  95 Impreza merges ahead of me.  Stickers galore! Operation Ivy, Mustard Plug, Rancid, Social Distortion, Bad Religion, and Anthrax (that one was a bit out of left field) all colorfully adorn the back of the car.  I was very excited to see another late wave punk fan in my town.  Seeing the driver though, his story took a turn.

Today’s tale: Have I Got a Story for You

A mid 90s Subaru Impreza looks like just about every other mid 90s sedan on the road.  Slightly sloped roof, curved-ish wheel wells, a trunk. Nothing incredibly identifying.  I am pretty sure the hayday of bumper stickers in the Rocky Mountains was when Denver International Airport opened and suddenly all of our Subarus and SUVs looked alike in the parking lot.  Bumper stickers helped folks tell one car from the next.  Just like putting that zany luggage tag on your checked bag so you could grab and go at the carousel.  They are less alluring now with the prevalence of key fobs that with the press of a button will make your car horn sound.

There’s a loss with the demise of bumper stickers.  Cars have a little less personality.  Stick figure families are all too popular and Calvin urinating on things the driver disagrees with is no longer amusing.  Calvin was never mean about his antics.  Seeing a mid 90s Subaru still celebrating so much of the mid 90s through its bumper sticker pledge of allegiance is refreshing against the sea of Ford Escapes and Toyota Priuseseses. That’s probably the correct pluralization.

The driver of this little time capsule was maybe a teenager when the car was built.  He still loves ska (who doesn’t?!), and Green Day’s Dookie CD is on constant rotation in the ailing cd player he installed in 2002.  He listens to newer stuff occasionally, but for him music has been all down hill since 2000.  He has hair down to his shoulders, oily and a bit clumpy, but he doesn’t care.  He looks just like his friends and that’s all that matters.

There are some fireworks in the back seat, the kind attached to a long stick and have that red cone out front.  With Independence Day just around the corner, he stocked up for one epic evening.

It is not that he is too fond of the day itself.  The fireworks were purchased for protection.  The driver has not blinked once during the trip and his face is a little twitchy.  In the safety of the glove box that no longer locks and will pop open over bumpy railroad tracks he keeps his prized possession; one tin foil hat. He fully believes he was abducted by aliens after the Less Than Jake set at Warped Tour 2003.

What he does not know is that he took part in some less than organic brownies on his way to the port-o-potties and his buddies thought it would be funny to drive him up to Estes.

When the driver tells the story of his abduction he leaves out no detail.  The enormous eyes, the gray skin, the blue lights; he knows every little bit of the aliens and their spacecraft.

Independence Day is the easiest night for them to sneak down and grab unsuspecting humans.  He won’t be grabbed again.

His friends have never had the heart to tell him the truth.  Should they ever muster the courage, boy howdy do they have a story for him.


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