Well, my step-mother is in town, God bless her.  Last night she mopped my kitchen floor.  I like to invite my step-mother to my home once a year or so to mop my kitchen floor, whether it needs it or not.  It keeps the family ties strong.  Actually, what’s great about having my step-mother here is that she somehow manages to get my children put away their toys.  I don’t know how she does it.  As far as I’m concerned it’s one of those “don’t ask, don’t tell” situations.

My step-mother watched my kids while I went shopping for new clothes today.  I have been trying to buy myself a new skirt ever since the baby was born, but I have not had good fortune.  For one thing, I am picky about my clothes.  I’m just a simple girl trying to get by, you see.  In my younger days I could do funky and fabulous as well as the next person, with a devil-may-care attitude about whether or not I’d still be able to wear an outfit in six months or if it would result in any incriminating photos.  I had more disposable income in those days, and far fewer children climbing on me with their Goldfish-encrusted paws.  These days, what with my being old and four-times reproduced and all, I can’t get away with the fashion statements I once did.  For further explanation, see the chart below.

Old requirement(s) for clothes:

  • Does it look good on me right now?

New requirements for clothes:

  • Does it look good on me right now?
  • Will it still look good when I wear it three days from now?
  • Will it still look good with baby puke on it?
  • Is it machine washable?
  • Can my children pull on it without ruining it and/or indecently exposing me?
  • Does it really look good on me, or does it make me look like a pathetic loser trying to be hip and fresh without success?
  • Is it not white?
  • Was it not made in China by political prisoners or child slaves?  Vietnam, you say?  Damn those American textile workers and their living wages!

Add to that the requirements for skirts:

  • Does it not have ruffles?
  • Does it not have a four-inch elastic band around the hips?
  • Does it not have sequins and/or beads?
  • Do I not have to iron it?

Add to that the fact that I am cheap.  I went shopping at Banana Republic today, where I saw a lovely $128 skirt.  It was lovely, but I can’t spend $128 on a skirt that my children are going to be anywhere near.  Plus, did I mention that I am cheap?  I ended up shopping the clearance rack at Ann Taylor Loft, which I think means that I am both cheap and old.  But I have skirts that fit me and don’t make my butt look the size of Cleveland.  I also bought something that was silk and dry-clean-only so I could get in touch with my frivolous side.

On my way to shopping today I was behind a car with these bumper stickers:  “NO on 36,” “COEXIST” (written in various thought-system symbols), and “No One Is Free While Others Are Oppressed.”  I understood “NO on 36” because it was from the 2004 election and I was paying attention in those days.  I understood “COEXIST” except that the “C” appeared to be the scythe from the old U.S.S.R. flag, and I didn’t know if it was trying to say we should coexist with old Communist regimes or the Oregon Green Party or what–but as it turned out, it wasn’t a scythe but a crescent and star, which represents Islam.  So that’s cool, I guess.  But the last one bugged me.  I mean, I think I sympathize with the general sentiment behind it, which I assume is something like, “Regardless of how comfy our own lives are, we should not be comfy with people being oppressed elsewhere.”  But what it says is, “No one is free while others are oppressed,” and that just isn’t true.  I’m free.  Others are oppressed.  But I’m free.  As free as one can be with four children and a mortgage, but you know, compared to the Chinese political prisoners and child slaves, pretty darn free.  And I don’t think liberating the rest of the world is going to get me free babysitting or lower my interest rate, so…yeah, I don’t get it.

I mean, not to beat a dead horse, but slavery was oppressive and a white male living on the frontier in the early nineteenth century was still pretty darn free, wouldn’t you say?  I suppose I’m especially bothered by bumper stickers that are supposed to be all deep but don’t actually, technically make any sense.

While I’m in the stream-of-consciousness spirit, I will now list my favorite bumper stickers that are intended to offend people but that I still find funny:

  • “Okay–I’ve evolved, you haven’t.”
  • “I love animals–they’re delicious!”
  • “Earth first–We’ll strip-mine the other planets later”
  • “Born Right the First Time”

The weirdest religious bumper sticker I ever saw–besides “Beam Me Up, Jesus!”–had a picture of Jesus on one side with the words HE LOVES ME, and on the other side was HE LOVES ME NOT, next to a picture of the Devil.  It’s neither funny nor offensive, just…odd.  That’s what I liked about it.  Then there’s the JESUS:  TOUGHER THAN HELL bumper sticker.  Which I can’t make up my mind about.  It’s like those pictures of Jesus smiling with teeth.  Kind of creepy, but endearing in its way.

Tell me about your favorite and least favorite bumper stickers.