Brynn Craffey

To sticker or not to sticker....

Filed By Brynn Craffey | February 01, 2008 11:05 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics, Politics
Tags: consumerism, European Union, Ireland

Three weeks ago Sunday, I moved back to California from Dublin, Ireland. The virus I had when I arrived has run its course, jet-lag is almost resolved (though I still wake up too damned early!) and my initial cultural shock has dissipated. Because California is where I was born and raised, its culture is deeply ingrained in me which has meant that adjusting to life back here has been similar to slipping on a worn but favorite sweater. (Or “jumper” as they’d say in Dublin!)

One thing I can’t get used to, however, are the LOW PRICES of everything! You may not realize it, but consumer goods cost way less in the United States than in the European Union. Dublin, on the other hand, has become one of the EU’s most expensive cities to live.

To give an example, a six pack of Budweiser beer—yes, Bud is popular among young Irish drinkers—cost 10 Euro at my (former) corner store. That’s $15 at the current exchange rate!

A six-pack of Heineken was equally expensive. A slice of cheap, greasy pizza cost 5 or 6 Euro. My tiny studio, which was roughly 175 square feet total and pleasant but NOT luxurious, cost 650 Euro a month—that’s $966. When I left, the landlord raised the rent to 750—or $1,115—and he didn’t even have to list it. The apartment was rented within days by word of mouth.

Being here reminds me of trips my family used to make to Tijuana to take advantage of cheap prices and the favorable dollar/peso exchange rate.

Because I’m living in Southern California, I need a car so I purchased a very low-mileage 2006 Ford Focus from my brother, who sells cars for a living. I never imagined I’d be a Ford owner—my first choice was a Prius but I can’t afford one. At my brother’s urging, I researched the Focus and was surprised to find it highly rated in every category. And while its mileage is not as good as a Prius, its greenhouse gas emissions ARE as low! The two-door model I bought is quite stylish, too.

So, for the first time in more than 5 years, I’m a car-owner. And for the first time ever I own a car with airbags. Whoo-hoo!

My question, readers, is this: if you own a car, do you have any sort of bumper sticker or decoration identifying yourself as either LGBT or progressive? A rainbow flag? An ACLU patch? An Edwards bumper sticker?

If so, do you notice favorable or unfavorable reactions from other people? Has your car ever been defaced or damaged? Do others drive more aggressively around you?

I ask because years ago when I was still living as a woman, I had a bumper sticker that read, “Women make great leaders: You’re following one!” Not long after I put it on, I noticed that certain male drivers were indeed driving more aggressively around me. While I can’t say for sure it was due to the bumper sticker, the correlation was suspicious.

In another disturbing incident, my (former) car was defaced in San Diego when it was parked near where I worked. I suspect the damage was done by one or more surfers—I worked near the beach and regularly surfed near where I parked. I’m somewhat effeminate and come across as gay, though at the time I had a girlfriend who regularly rode to work with me because she was taking classes on the university campus where I worked.

The vandal(s) scratched the hood of my car with a sharp object, writing into the paint, “Die you bisexual faggots!” I should have reported the incident to the university police, but I didn’t. The whole thing made me feel less safe, particularly because I figured they had to have either known me personally from surfing with me, or been watching me to know I was both a bit swishy and had a girlfriend.

At the time, I had no queer or other stickers. I’m thinking now, though, I’d like to put a small rainbow flag on my car....Thing is, it’s all shiny new and I don’t want some wanker scratching or damaging it purposefully in response to my sticker.

So, Bilericans, what's your experience with bumper stickers?

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I havent had one on my car at all but I kind think my old rebel flag verison of the Georgia state flag tag I have wouldnt fly to well with some folks if I traveled to some places with it on.I know I need a new front vanity tag of some kind.Any ideas for a new front tag for my car?

My sticker reading "Support Bush's War, Draft Young Republicans" has been repeatedly ripped off and defaced, but I just kept replacing it until last year. My new sticker reads 'With Democrats like these who needs Republicans." I've only had to replace it once in the last year.

The other bumper sticker I have reading "I Don't Mind Straight People As Long As They Act Gay in Public" has never been touched.

Try one of the rainbow flag decals you put inside the window.

Sorry to say Brynn
You came back just in time for the economy. to crash and burn. The crime rate is on the rise
in SanDiego. My roommate has a 2000 Focus (don't ask) you have the model with all the bugs worked out, good for you :)
She has no bumper stickers so has not incurred the ire of some of the local hot-heads on the road.

Take care
and welcome back.

The other bumper sticker I have reading "I Don't Mind Straight People As Long As They Act Gay in Public" has never been touched.

How funny, Bill. I have that bumper sticker too!

We also have these little people in rainbow colors that are dancing. It's a window decal.

Oh, and a bumper sticker that says Marriage = ♥ + ♥

Not had a problem with any of them, although I get some looks and laughs with the one Bill and I share. :)

Oh yeah! "Bilericans?" They're Projectors. :) (We had a poll! LOL)

Got a sticker for my local (liberal, by Kentucky standards) Congressman, and one promoting the Clinton library, on the back of my work van. It was egged at 55 mph on the interstate while towing a uhaul - it may have been my slow pace as much as the stickers - but they got the stickers.

My car has the sticker for our new Democratic governor. No eggs yet.

Good luck with the Focus, and well noted about Dublin's prices - I visited there in 2005, fantastic city but very expensive, and ironically had a stick Focus as my rental car - and liked it. Too bad the ones we get here aren't close in performance or mileage to the Euro model.

Cathy, some time back, I saw someone online that was selling rebel flags, in which the colors were changed to pink and purple. You might look for that. You can get the "dixie" horn from JC Whitney. There is a company online that sells all the stuff you need to build a General Lee, if you are so inclined.

I have admit that, for all my public spouting off, I avoid rainbow stickers, etc. on my car. Even here in NJ, it's like a sign to cops and jerks that says "Please fuck with me". I'm as proud of who I am as anyone, but I find advertising my queerness like that is an excuse to too many people to give me a hard time. It's just not worth it.

AC I would never dare insult the General Lee by tricking out my Chevy Cavailer to look like it!Hmm might need to look for a Thor's hammer to go on the front tag a pentagram would realy freak out folks here more than me being a Trans girl!

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | February 2, 2008 2:35 PM

"Support Bush's War, Draft Young Republicans"

Bill, that's a great bumper sticker! But I'm afraid I wouldn't risk it on my new car in San Diego.

Susan, thanks for the welcome!

And, Bil, awww, I really like "Bilericans"...! Can I continue to use it?

Cathy, enlighten this Northerner: wouldn't a Confederate flag on a car be a sign of, ummm, less than an open-minded welcome of diversity?

The rebel flag has many meanings some its heritage some its separation but for me its history like it or not. Being Deep South its one of those things you learn to deal and live with as part of every day life. I had family on both sides in that little part of our nation’s history so I can see it plainer than many. But im as open minded as they come after all not only am I bi trans and southern im pagan and all this in the bible belt but its home so I stay and do my own version of educating folks that you can be one of them just your also different. Like I hang around here and im one of the few open Republicans on this blog.

Interesting footnote the haters who use the battle flag usaly are not even from the south go figure!

Sorry Brynn, we had a contest/poll. The readers chose "Projectors." Don't worry - Alex really liked something else too. LOL I like it though. Fits us.

I was the one who was pushing projectors... it was either that or "beepers" at the time. Bilericans? Hmmmmm.... We need something completely different, like a mascot. What about the flying nuns?

Cathy had a Confederate flag tag on her car? Oh, my. I always wondered why conservatives, who want to tar and feather anyone who questions the war in Iraq, are so enamored with the largest and most violent rebellions against the US, which happened for a pretty disgusting reason.

Hmmmmm... I've never been a fan of bumper stickers. I used to date a guy who had an "abortion is the hidden holocaust" sticker on his car. I pulled it off. :)

Am I the only American in Europe who thinks that consumer goods are way cheap here? I can get pizza for a euro a slice or the whole thing frozen for three euro at the store, but I don't buy beer so I don't know how to compare it. Something tells me that prices in a metropolis on an island might not be representative of all of Europe.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | February 3, 2008 12:02 PM

Beepers?! Projectors?! What, are we all a bunch of IT nerds or trekkies? I may rebel and go on using Bilericans....

As for EU prices, Alex, I did say Dublin is one of the most expensive cities in Europe. More expensive than London or Paris, according to real estate value and the personal experiences of people I know. So you're right, Dublin is not representative of the whole EU. But cars, electronics, airfares, books, music cd's, dvd's--all are more expensive in Western Europe than in the US, I believe. In part due to VAT--or value-added tax. What an apt name, eh? Usually governments try to obsfucate when naming things. The VAT in Dublin was a whooping 21%. If you're a tourist you can get it refunded, but not residents.

Yes I stil have it though im thinking of getting one in the new state flag. Alot of you just dont get the Civil War do you owell some time take a tour of one of the battle fields or better yet go to Andersonville but if your sensitive to spirts walk by quicky by the one set of graves of the Andersonville Raiders.That truely is a place of evil.