Without one verbal communication, I figured out that a family has at least one teenage daughter, the daughter’s interests, an elementary-aged son (and at least one of his interests), a dog, the district where they live, the parent’s work location, political leanings, and where they vacation.
Where did I get this information?? From facebook? LinkedIn? White Pages? Google?? Nope.
I learned it while sitting at a traffic light, “reading” the back of a minivan…
- The back window stickers “Cougar Cheerleading” and “Cougar Gymnastics” let me know there is likely a teenage girl in the house where that van resides.
- The sticker “Class of 2013” lets me know how old she is. I already know what school she attends (the home of the Cougars).
- “NYA Football” lets me know there is likely a little brother in the house. He plays football in the community league.
- The “BRES” white oval magnet with the black outline lets me know which elementary school he goes to … further narrowing the residence location of the supposedly anonymous minivan.
- Their “OBX” magnet lets me know that they vacation … and where they like to go (Outer Banks, NC).
- The license plate frame “I ❤ my dachshund” suggests that they have at least one mini-dog — minimal threat to an outsider.
- Their license plate “5Jones5” lets me know there are probably five people in the family … one more child who I had not figured into the family.
- The red/white/blue elephant with “08” in the body lets me know who they voted for in 2008.
- The parking sticker on the left bumper tells me where at least one of the parents works.
Stickers, magnets, and license plate frames tell all. One can make other inferences based on these interests and activities. We desire to be safe and to keep our children safe. We teach our children to “not talk to strangers” yet we advertise our lives on the back of our vehicles.
We reveal as much about ourselves as we choose. Speaking to a telephone solicitor, completing a survey, talking to a stranger in the Mall, setting up a facebook page, or displaying car stickers. I choose what exits my mouth or what I post online. This lesson must be learned well by everyone. Pre-schoolers are taught not to talk to strangers. Teens must know this lesson when communicating online. Not a new lesson.
hmm…. I think I’ll get a “I ❤ my doberman” bumper sticker.