Saturday, July 12, 2008

Puzzled by Bumper Stickers

I have never been one for bumper stickers or wearing my thoughts on my sleeve. It's one of several ways in which my husband and I are opposites. In his college dorm room he had the door plastered, and I mean plastered 3 deep, with stickers from every restaurant, skateboard shop and surf manufacturer he'd ever visited. He loves Wahoo's, for the ambiance. (I do like Wahoo's but for the food, despite the ambiance.) Jim's poor, otherwise tasteful, sleek and trim Mini Cooper has been defaced for a good cause: Save Trestles.

An unwillingness to wear my thoughts on my bumper or across my chest does not mean I have no opinions. Oh contraire! I just don't care to offend those who are driving behind me or impose mine on uninterested parties. I am not even inclined to sport the IXOYE fish, although there is nothing I care more passionately about than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe it is my Harmony strength that keeps me unlabeled, maybe just my introversion.

Last night though, I benefitted from one bumper sticker. In the unstructured cool of the summer evening, Reid wandered down our street and into some neighbors' yards and garages. We live on a pretty friendly, safe street and several families were out at the time with bikes and dogs so it didn't send panic through my veins as it has in the past. A neighbor graciously informed Allie, who called me and by the time I went out front Reid was casually walking home. He was followed at a distance by a kindly grandfather type to whom I waved (although I didn't recognize him). Clearly he was making sure Reid got to the right house safely.
A short time later, the 3 of us pedaled together on bikes into the cul de sac. I noticed an unfamiliar minivan with the infamous autism puzzle ribbon on it. Come to find out the kindly grandfather is David. His grandson also has autism and yes, that is his van. How we've both lived here for 7+ years and never met, I'll never understand. In any case, I thanked him for "walking Reid home" and we had a nice chat about his various grandchildren, mainstreaming, and the new puppy he was walking.

So the blasted bumper sticker does serve a purpose, I must confess, as conversation starter, introduction to new (and not so new) neighbors, and unifying element. If I ever sport any autism gear, (and that's a big if), it will not be the puzzle piece or the puzzling print but maybe one of these, available through Oddizm Autistry at CafePress.

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