Thursday, 13 March 2014

Grumpy Old Man On Board

On my way home from work, I pulled up behind a car at a red traffic light and started to rant to myself, thus shattering yet another successful stint of being a mild-mannered Plastic Mancunian instead of the raging grumpy old git that I have become in my old age.

So why was I ranting?

Had the driver in the car in front driven like a maniac? No!

Had the driver of the car in front violated a traffic law? No!

Had the driver in front been an inconsiderate arse and pressed the road rage button in my brain? No!

Had the driver done something stupid? Well – depending on your viewpoint – yes!

I squinted at the rear windscreen and saw a sticker. The sticker was a small yellow diamond with tiny writing on it and a picture of a baby’s dummy (or pacifier if you live across the pond).

This was the sticker:

I’m sorry but this sticker has annoyed me ever since I started driving. 


It seems innocuous enough, doesn’t it? Why should it make me pull out my soapbox and make me rant to myself mercilessly? 

Because it is totally and utterly pointless and assumes that random drivers are psychopaths. The problem  is that, while there may be psychopaths on the road, a stupid and pointless sticker is hardly likely to make him stop and think “I won’t smash into the back of THAT car! I'll choose ANOTHER one without a baby on board.”

First of all, the sticker itself has writing on it that is so small that you have to drive almost up the backside of the car before you can read it. 

Furthermore, if I really did have a crazy urge to smash into the back of the car in front, do you really think that when I was a yard away from it and looking forward to destroying both of our cars in a thoughtless act of road violence, seriously injuring or maybe killing both occupants (including myself) and, that a tiny sticker would make me think twice because there was an infant in the car?

There is only one sticker that makes me rant more – and it is this one:

I may be determined to destroy your car and my car even with a child of unknown gender but will definitely back off if it is a little girl.

It’s ridiculous! I just don’t get the reason for making the stickers so small. If anything they are more likely to make a driver think “What does that say” and drive closer than he would normally. I have driven my car with two young children in it and if anybody had dared to buy me a Baby on Board sticker I would have hurled it into the nearest bin.

That pointless sticker wasn’t the only one that irritated me. As I drove on, I turned away from the Baby on Board car, which was a good thing, but then I found myself behind another car with an equally ridiculous sticker in his back windscreen.

I was on a roll now. I ranted to driver in front, even though I knew that he couldn’t hear me.

“What do you mean Jesus I Trust In You? Are you expecting Jesus to drive up behind you and say “Thanks”? Are you just being smug and think that you are better than me because I am not religious enough to boast about my bond with the Son of God? Do you think anybody cares?”

Personally, I don’t have any car stickers because I simply don’t see the point of them. Some of them are vaguely funny but once you’ve got the joke why bother?

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Yes, they bring a smile – once! See what I mean? They too are pointless –utterly pointless.

I’d rather have a nodding dog – and I hate those too. At least some of them are cute. Thankfully, they are few and far between these days:

And do you remember furry dice? What was the point of those? Do people actually buy them now? It seems they do:

I think a lot of people go overboard when it comes to pointless car accessories. I mean who in their right mind would buy headlight lashes?

Thankfully I have both taste and common sense. I don’t have a nodding dog and no stupid stickers will ever find their way in or on my car. 

The only thing I need is a music machine of some kind so that I can allow myself to drift into song instead of ranting at Baby On Board stickers.

To any readers who think they serve a purpose – they do not. The chances of them preventing a psychopath from ramming your car are miniscule. 

And they annoy people like me!

Mind you, if you like seeing grumpy old gits like me rant to themselves in a car, maybe you can get a perverse kind of pleasure from it.

I think I like my own sticker at the head of this post, actually. Maybe I will print it off and glue it to the back of my rear windscreen. It will certainly be accurate.

What do you think?


Elephant's Child said...

Or would it make the mythical pychopath aim for you?
Nah, I think you are safe. And your sticker has a great deal more charm for this grumpy git. Go ahead. I dare you.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

It probably would make the mythical psycho aim his car for you in truth.

I am considering my sticker - or maybe something similar to do with road rage.




Jackie K said...

I agree! Those stickers are a bit rude, like saying "don't drive like your usual irresponsible self, please, for I am carrying Precious Cargo".
You didn't mention the "my family" stick figures everyone loves to hate ;)

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jackie,

Oh yes - I forgot about those!





jeremy north said...

Yet again PM, you took the words right out of my mouth!

This is not a rant, it is pure sensible comment, especially so about the small font size.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jeremy,

Absolutely! I feel like having a reverse sticker on my front windscreen that tells them.

Except it will be in BIG letters.




H2B said...

Oh, get off your soapbox, Mr PM, you are barking up the wrong tree again. The baby on board sign is like the L plate!,!!! It is to warn you to keep your distance, as the driver may be distracted anytime by the baby, the car may stall, slow to move off at the green light, sudden swerving motion etc etc. If you can read her sign, you ARE to close, proceed at your own peril.


H2B said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi H2B,

I am afraid I will remain on my soapbox about Baby On Board Stickers.

First, an L plate is a a BIG L and can be viewed from a distance. This means that you can clearly see the fact that driver is learning and therefore prone to making mistakes. Whereas a BOB sticker is so tiny that you can barely read it even when close. I;ve driven with a baby on board and it did not make my driving any worse nor any of the drivers around me any worse either.

A driver who is distracted by the driver should not be driving with a baby.

I hate tailgating so I only end up close to the car in front when they stop at a traffic light - which is when I can just about read the pointless BOB sticker in the back of their car.

On a motorway, it looks just like a yellow bit of card with illegible writing on it.

A blunt pencil has more point than a BOB sticker.

In fact, next time I do a Room 101 post I will put BOB (and POB) stickers in there - so nobody will be able to buy them.

And then, dearest H2B, I will step off my soapbox ;-)




River said...

There is only one decent reason for having a Baby on Board sticker; if your car is badly damaged/crushed in an accident it helps if rescuers know to look for a small child who could easily be overlooked in a back seat if the back section is severely mangled. Such "stickers" out here are usually a small plastic diamond attached to the back window via suction cap and if the baby is not in the car should be removed.

River said...

P.S. BOB diamonds out here are usually the size of L plates, so easy to see.

H2B said...

Dear Mr PM, I have 2 friends, a male and a female, who had car accidents when they were driving alone with their babies. Both turned around for a moment to stuff pacifier into the mouth of the crying baby, when the accident happened. So, I gave them a big BOB sign.

It must be your UK version of BOB sign that needs to be enlarged.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I can see your point but if that were their true purpose then they would made compulsory. As it is, while they may be the same size as learner plates, there is more writing on them hence they are more difficult to read.

What's worse is the fact that there are other diamond stickers as you describe but with daft and equally pointless slogans on them like "Diamond Geezer On Board" or "Alien on Board".

I still don't think they serve a purpose.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi H2B,

I don't see how a BOB sticker could have prevented the accident really.

They are similar here to the Ozzie versions and, as I said to River, have been used for other messages too.

Now if a government really wants to make other drivers aware of people travelling with a baby on board then they should make it illegal to drive without them.

However, I stand by my argument that they are aimed at other drivers, the vast majority of whom would not dream of tailgating or driving like a maniac around any car, let alone one with a baby on board.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this.