January 16, 2008

On a Different Kind of Runway...

I know it's a stretch for me to compare a sidewalk to a runway, even in the City (New York City, for those of you not blessed to live close enough to it, and for whom "the city" can mean a place with Wal-Marts and less than 6 highway exits indicating its presence). And let's face it, sometimes you run out the door in a sweater, jeans, shoes and a bag, to go to the liquor store and post office, and it's just everyday minutiae. No high fashion involved.

However, whether you want to accept this or not, whenever you leave the house by foot, horse or boat, you make a statement. We live in a free country, but also a judgmental country, and everything we do in public is subject to scrutiny.

Especially on I95 during morning rush hour.

Sadly, I don't live in a city where I can walk to work and enjoy the people-watching on the way. So during an hour every morning, while tapping my breaks at 20mph, I automatically do some car-watching. Usually totally uninteresting, but this morning I saw a few automobiles that got me to thinking about how our vehicles tell others about us.

Case #1: White Dodge Ram. Diesel engine. Flame-detailed chrome "grill." Racing stripes. South Carolina license plate. 18" NY Yankees decal. Rims that spun. And the finale, which I never thought I would see: a big, tall, white spoiler.

Case #2: A set of these hanging off the back of another pickup truck. Need I say more?

Now ironically, as tacky and attention-hungry as the first truck was, the second one with its sole "ornament" actually stuck in my mind more, due to the obvious placement and low-brow, oversexed, Howard-Stern-esque humor in it.

My point here is that leaving thehouse in any way leaves you open to analysis. And while I'm sure the driver of the very male truck was looking for that effect, in my opinion, it's not a desirable one.

So, inspired by my long and sometimes eventful commute in Connecticut, here's a list of Dos and Don'ts for cars.

DO keep your car washed.

DON'T try to brag if you've been off-roading or hunting.

DO graduate from the college stickers and frame your license plate instead.

DON'T get vanity plates.

DO hang something sentimental from your rear-view mirror.

DON'T do stuffed animals.

DO tag on a couple of simple bumper stickers.

DON'T slap on 30 of them.

DO strive for a neat, classic appearance.

DON'T even approach anything reminiscent of a Vin Diesel movie.

More Style Inspiration to come later.

What kind of statement are you making?