Here’s a picture of Frostbite One in all its churned-up-mud-road-dust-caked glory right now. (Quinn thought it needed some Batman logos, which is probably correct. Few things can’t gain from the application of a Batman logo.)
It’s basically pointless to drive this thing through a car wash between the months of December and May. You might as well just set fire to a ten-dollar bill.
Frostbite One is a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan. As a testament to my mostly-shut-in stay-at-home Dad existence until January, I’ve racked up only 94,000 miles on it since we purchased it in late 2005. It’s still in really good shape, though. No major parts failures in over seven years, just the usual wear parts needing replacement. You see a slightly aged minivan that’s still in great condition despite the few nicks and dings here and there. (The dent in the bumper was acquired at South Carolina’s Folly Beach in October 2010, and to date marks the minivan’s only interface with a stationary object.) You see new winter tires, quite a bit of caked-on dirt (again, dirt road), and a really faded oval D sticker above the model name on the trunk lid.
What don’t you see?
Bumper stickers, that’s what.
Despite the Grand Caravan’s substantial, shall we say, posterior, I have not festooned it with any stickers other than that oval D above the model name. Nothing to indicate hobbies, political affiliation, pet causes, or the number and gender breakdown of family members.
I live in New Hampshire, which is fairly libertarian-minded, still largely pro-gun, and really safe when you look at the crime rate statistics. But I routinely have to take Frostbite One out into the surrounding states, and some of them are somewhat less libertarian-minded, to put it mildly.
For example, I own guns and I enjoy shooting, and I have a drawer full of gun brand logo stickers from various purchases and swag events. But I don’t use them on the car because I do not want to drive down to Boston to pick up a friend or go to a con and end up in front of a MA state trooper in a vehicle with New Hampshire plates that is festooned with gun-related stickers (or worse, “From My Cold, Dead Hands” political ones.) I’m a responsible gun owner and follow local laws, but MA has extremely restrictive gun laws that can land people in hot water very quickly. If I go to MA and forget a box of range ammo in my van–or even just fired brass for reloading–I am looking at three years in a MA state prison if said state trooper pulls me over, goes through the van with a very fine comb (because HEY, GUN NUT), and finds so much as a single piece of expended brass.
Then there’s the fact that gun logos or Second Amendment-related stickers on a parked vehicle are practically a glowing neon sign advertising “HEY, THERE MAY BE GUNS IN HERE”, especially in places where the local law stipulates that a licensed gun carrier has to disarm before entering specific places, like a school, day care, public gathering, or restaurant that serves alcohol.
Another concern is the advertising of politically unpopular viewpoints on one’s vehicle, which can be an invitation for property damage by people who don’t appreciate dissenting or “provocative” opinions in their field of view. I have more than one libertarian friend whose Ron Paul sticker was defaced or removed from their cars while they were parked on the grounds of academic institutions, for example. I also know of an incident where a friend’s car was keyed along the side of the door and across the back of the trunk lid where my friend had put an atheist sticker. A lot of people seem to think that some opinions are worthy of immediate fiscal punishment, and the minivan has enough scuffs and dents as it is without some college Trotzkyist or Defender of the Faith adding to that collection with a car key and/or a spray can.
Anyway, that’s why Frostbite One isn’t stickered up like a six-year-old’s My Little Pony birthday party. Hey–there’s a sticker theme that can’t possibly be offensive, or likely to get me a frisking by the side of the Interstate…