The other day I was chatting with a new co-worker as we walked out to the parking lot, and we both laughed when we saw that we drive the exact same Jeep. I saw her checking out my multiple bumper stickers, and I held my breath. “I like your women’s rights sticker” she said, and I immediately felt relieved. Like I mentioned, she’s a new co-worker whom I know relatively nothing about, but like already. I had hoped we would have some things in common.
I decided to give her a quick rundown of why my car has these bumper stickers because I’m neurotic and this is what I do. I’m not sure why I felt compelled to share it with her then or with you now. I guess no matter how hard I try, I still care about what people think.
Before we married Johnny and I lived in cities about 3 hours apart. On the weekends without his children, one of us would come visit the other, naturally. On one particular journey to see him my “check engine” light came on and my car started acting a little funny. After driving about 5 miles with the light on, suddenly my car just stopped working. My steering wheel became hard to navigate but I managed to get over to the shoulder of the road and began to assess the situation. It was on the other side of dusk and getting dark quickly, and I was alone, in the middle of nowhere.
Within minutes, a white four door car pulled up and parked in front of me and immediately put their hazards on. It was dark and I couldn’t see inside the car. They made no move to get out of the car either, and not sure of the protocol in this situation, I got out of my car first (in hindsight this seems kinda slasher-move stupid) but in my head I figured that if they had genuinely pulled over to help me, then the least I can do is to get out of my car and introduce myself. However, the creepy feeling that they may be lying in wait to rape me and put me in the truck and ultimately dismember my body had also occurred to me. I held my keys in that fisty-spikey-key grip that every woman knows just in case I had to ram them into someone’s neck to finagle my escape. I remember thinking that getting my throat slashed would be a super shitty start to my weekend.
As I walked slowly on the shoulder and approached the foreign car, I noticed a single bumper sticker.
Say what you want about ole Hillary, it ain’t about her. Maybe it’s my naiveté, but I knew right then and there that I wasn’t getting raped/beaten/robbed/abducted. This is not to say that it couldn’t have happened, I’m just saying I knew it wouldn’t. I was right, of course, and as it turned out, a great gal named Cynthia was behind the wheel of that car, and she took me to the next exit and the closest gas station, and happily waited with me for the tow truck.
It was after the horrid 2016 elections when I decided that I no longer cared what people think anymore, criticism be damned – I would adorn my Jeep with stickers that support my core beliefs; like equal rights for everyone, compassion, and kindness – political and otherwise. I immediately remembered my roadside rescue from Cindy, and I determined this was a serendipitous bonus. Now, people know where I stand, and I hope that one day I can be a safe place for anyone, male OR female, that needs it. You never know when you’ll need help, and I just know that I want to be that person for someone else, like Cindy was for me. I’m not just broadcasting that I’m a proud liberal, I’m advertising that I’m willing to help if you need it, despite color, gender, religion or sexual affiliation. You know, like it’s supposed to be.
Good people help other people, end of story. We are all we’ve got. So, if you see me driving around town in my crazy bumper-sticker laden Jeep spreading love around like glitter, know that you’ve got a ride.