I don’t wash my hands a dozen times a day or eat my food counter-clockwise or lock the door repeatedly. I read automobiles.
For example, I read vanity plates, often maneuvering in traffic to get a better look. Because of the character limit, some of them can be cryptic puzzles. “NGOTI8R,” for example, or “RCKTMN.” Others are simple, such as the two I saw in one day a few months ago: “HUGEEGO” and “FREUD.” How funny would it be if they were involved in a collision?
I know this doesn’t seem like much of an obsession, but if I can’t figure one out, it bothers me all day. But that’s just a small part of the problem. What really consumes me are bumper stickers and decals.
Most are textual, so they’re not especially hard to figure out. Others are in the form of symbols or images that don’t make immediate sense. I try to group them into categories. The top two categories are Decorative and Affiliations. The Decorative category holds those items that are displayed solely for their aesthetic value.
The Affiliations category holds those items that indicate the preferences or formal memberships held by the driver. They fall into sub-categories: Religious, Military, Professional, Sports, Ethnic, Political and Entertainment. Usually, I can pick the category from a distance, and identify the exact affiliation when I get a little closer. Entertainment is the hardest, because unknown bands often have unintelligible names or strange logos.
On my daily commute, I often see the same vehicles, which have become familiar to me. There’s the lady with the “Never, Never, NEVER Shake a Baby!” bumper sticker. And the guy with a dozen stickers: 11 espousing extremist political opinions and one that says “Coexist.”
But there’s one car I see all the time, that bears this indescribable image, along with the message, “XD28NE:”
The image resembles a scarab beetle, or perhaps a radiation warning sign. I thought it might be an image from a video game, or a band logo – but a Google search of “XD28NE” reveals nothing.
The unsolvable mystery of this image is driving me insane. Please, if you have any idea what this represents, let me know. I’ll be eternally grateful, and far less likely to run this person off the road to demand the answer.