An Exercise in Stereotyping

My Creative Writing class requires us to read a book about how to write well. I have a bit of a superiority complex when it comes to this since I like to write how I write and would rather not be aware of my wrongdoings. However, there are many “Try This” boxes throughout the text which actually prove to be pretty entertaining. Here’s something that the book suggested I do. I took a few bumper stickers and then wrote a blurb about what the car and person who own it are probably like.

Not that I disagree with the sentiment...

Not that I disagree with the sentiment…

Driving 45 mph in the right lane, this vintage VW Beetle seems to be more rust than paint. Unless that is the color of the paint. In which case I’d place the car at around 1975. Peace signs and clouds of patchouli are left among the ironic exhaust as the vehicle loudly chugs its way to the farmer’s market. The backseat is littered with hemp-woven tote bags and discarded Chuck Taylor high top sneakers. Stubbed out American Spirit cigarettes occupy the floorboards as well as a rogue mustache comb, only hinting at the possibility of grooming. When the beetle sags to a stop next to three bicycles with baskets, it silently apologizes for running on gasoline and making them irrelevant. Stepping out of the car one gangly leg at a time, Will-o, which is a combination of his first and last name, gives off an immediate anti-social vibe. He awkwardly adjusts his skinny jeans, paper-bagging them out and cinching them again around his waist. The braided belt aids in this endeavor. Unsuccessfully tugging the bottom of his t-shirt to meet the top of his jeans, Will-o offers a sneak peak of gamer-white belly and an unruly happy trail. Squinting through his Ray Bans, he looks around the parking lot for an ally and seeing none, scuffs the toe of his loafers in the loose dirt. Awkwardly, of course.

I don't get this trend...

I don’t get this trend…

Rattling through the stoplight and bouncing without hydraulics, the wood-paneled minivan boasts a full capacity and threatens to give up before reaching the other side of the green light. Shouts of discontent reverberate off the back window as tiny fingers hover too close for comfort over siblings’ skin. A promise to turn the van around is heard and suddenly four backs are pressed against the threadbare and sometimes sticky fabric of the middle and back rows. A shaking mother, Beverly, manages to steer the rig into the parking lot of the soccer fields and she sighs in relief that she hadn’t driven the entire thing into oncoming traffic. Of course she would never do that. But one of these days, her four screaming children will succeed in severing the last of her fraying nerves and she makes no guarantees about the future. Practically rolling out of the driver’s seat, Beverly pats down her slightly feathered, dirty blonde hair to smooth any traces of frazzle. She briefly considers using the mauve scrunchie that occupies her wrist but gets distracted by a waving friend and sets her white Asic tennis shoes in a firm parallel before opening the back door and letting loose the chaos.


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