Friday, July 11, 2008

Puerto Rican on board

There's something kind of cool about spotting a PR bumpersticker on a car. The further away you are from PR, the more my neck cranes to look at the car. Why am I looking? What does it matter who is inside? I don't know, but I look anyway.

This weekend I saw one of these on a car here in Portland:

I've seen similar ones around town a few times. A few months ago I saw one up by Fort Lewis , in Washington State. The most random place I've seen a PR bumper sticker was on a car in Wyoming. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the sticker and the license plate:

We have one one our car. I'd post a picture of it but I can't find one similar to it online, and taking a picture of the one on our car would be pointless as it is pretty worn. It is a Hurricane Wilma survivor, you see. Prior to the storm, it was in perfect shape. After the storm, the colors were stripped, and sometimes it looks like the part that says "PR" actually says "PA". It kind of looks like those European decals that have the initials of a particular country, but on either side there is a tiny PR flag. Except now there are only one and a half tiny flags. I feel a little embarassed about that; surely I should be taking better care of my national-pride bumper stickers, but I keep forgetting to get a new one when I'm down there. I can order one online, but I keep forgetting to do that too.

That sticker has allowed us to meet, as much as one can meet someone speeding down a highway, a couple of interesting characters. One of them was in Florida, pre-Wilma. We were speeding down the highway headed towards Miami - speeding because if we didn't keep up with the rest of the horde driving 90 mph, we'd surely die - and Dave tried to change lanes. Unfortunately, a car in the lane he wanted to get into was sitting in his blindspot and he didn't see it. Fortunately, he noticed just in time and came back to his lane. A few seconds later, a maniac in a giganto SUV pulls up next to our passeneger side and starts yelling at us in Spanish. He was not the guy in Dave's blindspot, but he witnessed the incident and decided that Dave was a menace. As this gentleman hung halfway out his window and swung his fist at us, not looking at the road, rolling along at 90mph, yelling barbaridades at us and accusing us of being reckless, we wondered why he was yelling in Spanish and not English.

Dave: How does he know anyone in this car speaks Spanish?
Me: Must be that he saw the PR sticker.
Dave: That thing's coming down!!

I stalled, and eventually the shock of the incident wore off. Passive-aggressive victory on my part, and so PR Sticker stayed to survive a hurricane. A couple of years later, back in Portland, Dave came home one day and said "I think I met a Puerto Rican today." Again, he had been driving down a highway, and a car pulls up alongside him. This time, though, it was a friendly woman who looked like Celia Cruz (according to Dave, I wasn't there to verify this). She smiled at him broadly and gave him a thumbs-up. He was confused at first, but decided that, once again, it must have been the PR sticker, working its magic.

But the best one, and, again, not seen by me because I wasn't there, was Dave's sighting of a car whose owner had typed up BORICUA in Word, printed it on a plain sheet of paper, and taped it to his back windshield. I imagine that's the equivalent of a temporary license plate. Until your real PR sticker arrives in the mail, sent by a relative or some website, you have to put up your paper document somewhere on your car.

I'm not sure which sticker will replace our battleworn veteran, who has brought us such joy and such fear for our lives, but I'm thinking...

...will not be it.


Wandy said...

Jenny! El sol o el coqui taino!!! Son lindos!

Annie said...

Jenny, te voy a enviar unos cuantos por correo y tu escoges el más que te guste!!

Okibum said...

The last one is hilarious!