Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bumper Stickers

Bumper Stickers

When I was in high school, everyone had to take a course called Health and Guidance their sophomore year. It included topics ranging from health issues to sex to marriage to drivers ed. The class could have been design to be very helpful about all sorts of practical matters, but instead it was more of a joke. For example, my teacher, who was married to another teacher at our school, was in the middle of a divorce because he was having an affair with a recently graduated former student of his. That made his talk about marriage a little less trustworthy.

We all saw the movie, “Red Pavement” and others similar to it to teach us what not to do when we were driving. Generally they were quite gory and either scared us or became a source of humor for those who like that sort of thing. Throughout the year a handful of students would be taken out of the classroom every week to go to the “Simulator” otherwise known as the “Stimulator” to practice driving. The simulator was set up in a portable bungalow and was equipped with a dozen drivers’ seats which had a steering wheel,gas and brake pedals and a dashboard. A movie would be played on a big screen up front and we were supposed to react to the scenes as they came up as if we were actually on the road driving. One problem with this is that no matter what YOU did, the movie played out as it was filmed, thereby totally confusing any sense we had about the results of our steering or braking.

The movies always had balls or small children coming out of nowhere or from between parked cars, jaywalkers, cars slamming on their brakes in front of you or vehicles not staying in their own lanes. I thought, “No way does this happen in REAL life. They are just trying to freak us out!” And for the most part I was right. There were a lot of things that made driving difficult for the new teenage driver, but it wasn’t really like the simulator movies.

Then I moved to Berkeley. Driving anywhere near the campus quickly showed me where they got the inspiration for those drivers Ed films. In one city block you can easily have four or five of those scenarios take place on a regular basis. Now people have cell phones and things have become really crazy. Nonetheless, I routinely navigate the streets with relatively few problems.

One big distraction for me can be the bumper stickers on the cars here. The variety and, shall we say, “creativity” is amazing. I sometimes scoot forward a little close to the car in front of me just to get a good look and to read the fine print. Today a little old blue Toyota Tercel sported 3 interesting ones. The first read, “PILLAGE FIRST, THEN BURN.” Helpful info if you are about to go out pillaging somewhere.

The second one said, “BUCKLE UP! IT MAKES IT HARDER FOR THE ALIENS TO SUCK YOU OUT OF THE CAR!” The third said, “IT ONLY FEELS KINKY THE FIRST TIME.” After I read these lovely stickers, the car turned into the fabulous produce market, Berkeley Bowl, and I was left to wondering what that guy was like who had chosen to display those three messages to the world. I don’t know if he even gave much thought to them or if he took them seriously or not. I do know that I had a good chuckle on the way to work and that I will still pull up a little close at stop lights to continue reading peoples’ bumper stickers.


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