Monday, November 21, 2016

Stickers

No blog post for months and this is not what I expected to write about. However, I saw something today that legitimately stole every ounce of free thought and attention I have, and I hope that by writing about it, I will get some of it back.

So sometimes people have stickers on their car. Bumper stickers, political stuff, goofy jokes, art, symbols, the stick figure things representing your family and pets, stuff like that. Today I was driving and saw somebody with one of those stickers on their car, and at first I didn't pay it much attention. Something about it, however, stuck out (haha?) and I after a few minutes, it was all I could think about.

The sticker said "I <3 2 Quilt." The heart was drawn in patchwork. And the kicker is, this was the only sticker on this person's car.

Please understand why this is a big deal to me. Most people, once they've put one sticker on their car, they'll put another. They will have one sticker that says "honk if you love guns, fire if you own one!" (I live in Texas), maybe one that says "Proud Mom Of An Honors Student!" and another with their favorite political candidate, and so on. Maybe their high-school and the year they graduated and the sport they played. Maybe their college. Maybe the high-school or college for their kid, instead. Stuff like that.

If somebody has only one sticker, that tells me they either thought "hey I should be the kind of person that puts stickers on their car to be expressive" and then forgot almost instantly. Or it tells me that they really love one thing.

(Some people have a lot of stickers; this might lead you to think that this person really loves a lot of things, but the truth is they only love one thing, and it's probably stickers)

This person? I don't think that they are in that first category. The sticker was too lovingly applied. It sat firmly in the place where families and alma maters normally go, perfectly square with the left rear windshield, placed with the geometric precision of somebody who deals in fabric squares on the daily. The sticker said "I <3 2 Quilt." I believe them.

This person seems like somebody who decided to put things on their car to express what they cared about, applied the quilting sticker, and then stood back perfectly satisfied while in the background a family member looked on, feeling neglected.

The more I thought about it, the more *unreal* this seemed to me. I'm not really the expressive type! I don't have any stickers on my car except for outdated campus parking passes. If I was going to put one on my car, I would either say "this needs to be PERFECT" and then never do it, or I would just go overboard and end up with twenty (the same logic applies with tattoos, which is why I will probably never get one). Yet somewhere, there exists a person who, with perfect purity of the soul, let out a single expressive ray of passion from the patchwork confines that guard their heart. They had one thing to say, and it was about quilting. I wish I could be that honest.

When new acquaintances learn that I spent twelve years of my life playing a video game competitively, I have a tendency to look to the side, embarrassed. I don't have Smash paraphernalia on my car or any of my belongings (excluding some clothing, which I usually only wear to tournaments). I don't wear t-shirts of my favorite bands. I get self-conscious if I wear too many articles of clothing made by the same company. There aren't a lot of things I'm unabashed about liking. One is Dr. Pepper and the other is penguins.

And it's weird to be that guarded, the more I think about it, especially nowadays where it's so easy to find people like you. It's one of the lessons that I (wrongly) learned from growing up. For some reason I always end up liking things that are fringe or strange, and other kids would make fun of me for it. I didn't want people thinking I was weird, so I developed a habit of keeping my interests, passions, and thoughts close to the vest...but I should know better by now! I know that most people are at least a little weird, and if somebody thinks I'm dumb for an arbitrary reason, then I probably didn't want much to do with them anyhow. Yet still, I’m just not that expressive, except in the company of a few close friends.

Imagine my jealousy, seeing that sticker. Somebody out there really likes quilting and doesn't care if you know it. What a hero.


Thought I'd get that off my chest. Thanks for reading.

6 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful post Wobbles - a really interesting reflection on the idea. Thank you for writing it.

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  2. Wow, actually I really connected to this. My girlfriend has all these cool meaningful stickers on her nalegene from different camping trips, and mine had only 1 from Joshua tree. It just felt so...incomplete. I suppose what bothered me was that although I knew it was a work in progress, I still felt like I was presenting an oversimplified version of myself everywhere I brought it. I ended up adding less meanful stickers to cover the space, and while I don't feel as bothered by it now, I don't feel as attached to it either; I had diluted my self in an attempt to hide from perceived judgments. My first instinct was that I should have collected all the stickers first and placed them when it felt right, but after reading your reaction to this avid quilter's sticker, I changed my mind. I don't think we can ever represent ourselves in a completely satisfactory way, and going through life with an empty nalgene (or window) on some quest toward an arbitrary actualization hinders us from enjoying the progress that comes with growing pains along the way.

    Sorry that ended up longer than intended! Great post Wobbles, hope to see more soon :)

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  3. I know its an odd thing to write about but its clear you have put a lot of work in to become a good writer and i always look forward to seeing you post something. Its strange how you always seem to provoke these new ways of looking at things. So many bloggers just post surface level updates about their life without taking the time to reflect about why they care.

    I appreciate you taking the effort to share with us in such a meaningful way. Grats on another fantastic article!

    Binx

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  4. As a person Growing up in a place where everyone likes, does, and hangs out with the same people, I have a real difficulty making friends. I had to learn the same lesson when I found out that kids are really cruel to others just for being different. This post really spoke to me. Really enjoyed it. Keep it up

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  5. It's a really honest thing to do. Anymore it seems to me more difficult to like something earnestly.

    Jeb

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