« American Life and Culture »

Pardon the oxymoron. You gotta realize, I drive for my job. That is my job. I find that driving puts me in contact or proximity to some of the most absurd or annoying people and the artifacts they surround themselves with. Cars are obvious examples. People have an odd relationship with cars in this country. There are so many things that bug me about people and their love affairs with cars. Here are some.

  • Spinning spoke wheels. You've seen them. They're the ones that spin after the car has stopped. I think it must be some sort of metaphor for American Life: "Look good going nowhere." If that isn't absurd, spend a lot of money doing it, too! I mean, those wheels are something like $500 APIECE! And, true to form for a lot of my observations, these wheels serve absolutely no functional purpose but to "impress" people. The car doesn't go faster, the traffic isn't any lighter, the gas doesn't cost less, and the stoplights don't change any faster! But hey, you aint no one till you spend $2000 on some aluminum to make you look good. Look good. But remember, the good looks really only shine when you a stoplight.
  • Bullet shot stickers. Now this one I just don't get. I suppose if you are driving a junker they might be apropos, but even that is stupid. Now, I see these silly stickers on cars that are obviously new and customized. Okay, what the fuck? On one hand, Americans don't want to be seen as victims, but on the other hand, here is a little clue that we do in fact like to be seen as victims. I don't know, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to be thought of as a gunshot target. When did being shot at become a mark of pride, for a civilian? And what does it say that Americans want others simply to think shots have been fired? There are lots of things to be a poser for (like being a star actor or musician), but I never thought people would pose to appear as the victim of a drive by! I guess my pride is not in line with the rest of the nation. I'll have to look into that.
  • Ridiculous suspension for absolutely no reason. Okay, when I was a pup, I was into monster trucks and any trucks that would attempt that look while still being street legal. When you are 10 and you can walk under a truck and not bump your head, it's cool. Now, I look at these trucks and have almost nothing but contempt. The short penis gag is not even ironic for me anymore; I don't really think it's worth my energy to be amused by that. If anything, for a lot of people, these overgrown F250s or Ram2500s are more reflective of a small brain. This is 2004, and people are paying stupidly high rates for gas, and there are some who somehow just keep driving what amounts to a gas hog under the best of conditions, but often is a little worse off when you put the off road tires on (not as efficient), and do some other mods that really don't do much to make the truck anything like efficient. If anything, it seems like the old fashioned American muscle car factor is alive and well.
  • Baja Race trucks. I have to wonder why people go and get some absolutely ridiculously widened front suspension for city driving. I think it is some sort of metaphor for stupidity and arrogance. Same with the business of taking one of those F250s and jacking only the FRONT up. Fifty years ago and even less, the trend was to jack the back up and drop the front. Now it's the opposite. Every time I see one of those trucks with a front lift or the Baja racing mods, I just feel like it is some sort of American cockiness, sort of like a "fuck you" with a certain style. If I were describing a human with his nose turned up, maybe that would illustrate my point better. It might not be a coincidence, but I see George Bush/NRA/NASCAR/Anti-enviromental/Pro-Life/Kill Arabs/Use More Gas sorts of stickers on these same sorts of trucks. It might not be universal enough to be legit, but I have indeed noticed this. There are also some really cocky looking sumbitches behind the wheel, or some sort of tart wife or girlfriend. Yahoo. Drink more beer, beat your wife most days of the week but really let her have it on Super Bowl Sunday. Vote Republican.

But I digress. I certainly have more, but really, 2:45 in the morning is not the time to spew it all. Check back later.

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