A bit back I contacted the alumni association at the University of Florida. Why Florida? For the same purpose, I could have contacted Miami or South Florida. I also could have contacted Florida State or Central Florida. But as the Gators are riding a hot streak - March Madness and all - they seemed suitable. Perhaps it’s a Maslow Hierarchy or Manifest Destiny thing. Go forth and conquer ... or at least be entertained.
So I called and lodged a complaint. Not about the subdued colors worn by its teams. Not about the humbleness exhibited by its fans. Not even about the thorough standards by which the university plows through prospective freshman applications. None of the above. The issue was the ability of one of its alumni to operate a motor vehicle. And I knew they were among the alumni because of the sticker on their car. Who would lie about that?
The association representative took my call and listened to my complaint. She undoubtedly wondered why she bothered to get up that morning as I was polite and I was calm. But I took my complaint quite seriously. I almost could see her looking over her shoulder wondering if she was being set up by a member of staff. Was a hidden camera and microphone recording the conversation? Were the Seminoles or Hurricanes behind a plot? Had she entered into the Twilight Zone?
While polite, she offered no certainty the poor excuse of a driver could be found much less flogged for their indiscretions on the road. Seems the association doesn’t keep records of the vehicles which sport its stickers and flogging was outlawed by the university in the 1960s. The association had no more idea than I! But I chose to disagree. If it gives out stickers saying the driver is a proud member of the alumni association, shouldn’t the association track to whom it passes out the stickers? You wouldn’t want the things falling into the hands of rival schools. Who would put such a thing on their car they weren’t a member?
Still no luck. The association had no idea who on a spring day was driving - if that’s what one would call it - a 2010 Audi M4 with the University of Florida Alumni sticker affixed neatly in the bottom right-hand corner of their rear windshield. So now I must assume all Florida alumni are poor drivers. It stands to reason. After all, I’ve never seen Sam Houston State alumni drive poorly. Certainly not Bucknell alumni. And if I ever see North Dakota alumni driving poorly, they certainly won’t be driving an Audi M4. Is my analysis fair? Of course. It’s on the Internet.
Point being what you put on your vehicle makes you a representative of that particular group or cause. If you like whales and you drive slow, I have to assume all whale supporters drive slow. If you have a “I’m a Follower and I Vote” sticker and toss trash out the car window, I assume you and your fellow followers are slobs. And If you give me the finger while passing on the wrong side at high speed, and you have a “Safe for Little Ears” sticker so common with the parent set, I have to assume you’re a lousy parent or you’ve stolen the car. I’ll simply call the police and let them sort it out.
Because of the responsibility, I put nothing on my car. It’s none of your business what I think, who I support, what I propose or where I shop if the sole purpose of my being in my car is to get from point A to point B. Mind you, I’ve never been to point B but I believe it has a tremendous happy hour. If I’m driving, I have nothing to say. I have no cause to promote. I have no other purpose than to scoot along the road, as far ahead of you as possible.
If you want to know what I think don’t look to my car. It’s a blank slate. Void of issues, discussion, purposes or memberships. Bird poop, perhaps. The fine greenish-yellow dust of oak trees, for certain. A message to share, not a chance.