Counting Blue Cars? Good Luck With That

Hallelujah! Finally we’ve found something that everyone apparently agrees on. Bland cars.

We might not be able to, as a people, agree on whether abortion should be a woman’s choice or a serious crime, on if marijuana is a fine consumable item, a cash cow to tax or a reason to send people to jail, or if our climate is changing, let alone if people are the cause of it. We can’t quite come to concur on whether Fox News is a sell-out to the liberal Left or a radical arm of the self-righteous Right or whether we should cut off Russian oil or buy more of it because Putin might have a glut of it and it could put the price at the pumps down by a dime. But it seems when it comes to our vehicles, there’s no argument – make it bland, just like our neighbors!

Such is the conclusion one might reach driving around any city or highway these days but it’s confirmed by Autoblog. com which recently noted “despite vibrant choices, people stick with bland” when it comes to car colors. In 2021, 24% of all new cars sold were white. 18% of them were black, and fully 34% were gray or grayish silver. Thus over ¾ of new cars weren’t even what the report classified as “real colors.” By the way, blue was the most popular of those “real” colors, edging out red by 8% to 7%. Both have seen serious declines in popularity recently, but not so much as green. Kermit-kolored kars represented over 7% of sales back in 2004; these days it’s barely 2%…which still heavily outperforms yellow, orange and pink which combined represent about one lone percent. One in a hundred to leave the lot. What’s more, we’re adventurous compared to the rest of the world. In Asia, 40% of all cars hitting the road are white, and 20% black. All this despite what PPG describe as a huge variety of “special colors, tinted clear coats and matte finishes” available to “better reflect vehicle owners individual personalities.” Back in the ’90s, the band Dishwalla had a hit with a song called “Counting Blue Cars”, and a line in it went “we count only blue cars.” It’d be pretty easy to do these days. They might have to re-write the lyric as “we count blue cars. Zero, all white.”

Not that many years ago, I lived close to a GM plant that made Chevy Impalas. They had a huge – football fields galore–sized – parking lot of them sprawling between the factory and the rail yards, waiting hopefully for some dealer somewhere to want them. An island of misfit cars. There’d be a gray one here and there, maybe a black one, but almost all were plain white. At the time, I thought one thing they were doing wrong was having such boring car colors. At that time Ford at least offered a few interesting oranges, and coppers and metallic primary colors. Turns out I was wrong. The uniform, boring look was the one thing they did right, it would seem.

Now, mind you, there are some advantages to having a blend-in, white or gray car (or pickup). If you are an aspiring bank robber, it’s probably much better to make your getaway in one. Good luck to the police looking for the getaway car that was “white. A car, a sedan. Maybe a Toyota. Or a VW. Maybe it was a Chevy. Or a Nissan. They all look alike.” If you are wanting a life in crime, a yellow convertible Tesla or two-tone ’70s Lincoln is probably not the car to have. But for the rest of us… it makes me nostalgic for my childhood with all its lime green Novas, sun yellow VW bugs and orange Dodges lining our street. Cars that had a bit of character and which you could actually find when you got back out into the mall parking lot.

I think the world would be a little bit better place if people would agree for inoffensive, middle-of-the-road choices for things like policing, taxes and immigration and go wild with passion for extreme car looks. And spend time counting… mauve cars!

Yetis And Life’s Other Little Mysteries

About a decade back, I briefly wrote a few blogs entitled “Things I Don’t Get.” Life’s little mysteries. Things like people’s fascination with zombies. Or their fascination with the Kardashians. “One day last month,” I wrote about the latter, “while in line I counted (Kim Kardashian’s) pouty mug on seven magazines (by the cashier)…the one proclaiming ‘Kardashian World!’ did make me think the retailer genius for also putting Tylenol at the check-out for subsequent impulse buys.” I was a bit snarky ten years ago apparently. Little mysteries. Of course, big mysteries always interested me too. UFOs. That missing Malaysian jet. And Bigfoot.

On the one hand, it would seem like if there were giant ape-man sasquatches out there in our dense forests, some gun-loving settler would have shot one and had it in their den by now, or a tractor trailer doing 80 would have hit one. I mean, dozens of people get run down by cars, can Bigfoots be that much smarter than us? But on the other hand, there are so many convincing reports of them, most from the pre-internet era. One doesn’t imagine Natives of coastal B.C. would have had much chance to talk to and share oral stories with the ones in the Appalachians, yet both have similar Bigfoot-like creatures in their histories.

I thought of those pieces not long ago when driving behind a big pick-up. Of course, in the decade since, there’ve been no shortage of things I don’t get. People falling off cliffs playing “Pokemon”. About half the politicians elected across the globe. Ice coffee. The Simpsons still being made about fifteen years after anybody I know stopped watching. And Yeti stickers.

This Dodge truck was shiny and of behemoth proportions, looking more or less straight from the factory…except for the Yeti sticker in its back window. Now as odd as this was, what is odder is that I see all kinds of vehicles around with those stickers. At first when I encountered one I was hoping it might signify the car was being driven by a Bigfoot. You know, some people put Italian flags on their window to signify their origin, maybe this driver was doing the same. Certainly his fast acceleration and lane-changes without benefit of turn signals suggested that could be the case. Humans on the road should be able to drive better than that. But sadly as they turned off, I could see an ordinary driver of adult human proportions and child-like lack of motor skills. Subsequent encounters with Yeti-stickered cars, trucks and vans alike have shown similar lack of content that would interest crypto-zoologists.

I’ve never been one to want to decorate a vehicle with lots of “bumper stickers”, be they on the bumper, window or any other part. I’ve seen too many people working too hard on scraping off “Wassup” stickers that didn’t seem quite as hilarious anymore or “I HEART Bill Cosby” ones which unintentionally did. Besides, I figure if someone wants to know me, let them talk to me. But I usually can understand the rationale for most stickers. A car with Texas plates but Acadia National Park and Everglades stickers; probably a person who likes to travel and nature. “My kid is a honor student at Washington Pre-school and Kindergarten”; proud and possibly delusional parent. A brother-in-law served in the military and has small but proud Marine logo stickers on his. I get that. And of course, I might assume quite different things about someone in a Prius with a “Bernie!” sticker than someone in a Ford F-150 with “Trump 2020” proudly emblazoned on the window. They at least tell us something about the people in that auto. But a Yeti?

This I don’t get. For those unfamiliar, Yeti, besides being the Asian name for a Bigfoot which may or may not exist, is the brand name of a popular line of travel mugs. They are usually metal, and by all reports very good. A cold drink stays cold in them, a hot one, hot. But why advertise them on your car?

The logo itself isn’t interesting. There’s no clever little sasquatch worked in, nor any bright colors. Just the word in big, bold white font. At least, Apple, say by comparison has a colorful interesting, almost decorative logo. And saying you’re an Apple fan perhaps exudes an air of “cooldom” or “superiority”. Hard to imagine the same is true of someone based on their choice of what to put their morning commute coffee in. After all, the cups and mugs start at about $20…expensive for a travel mug but well within almost anybody’s budget. It’s fair to say that if you can afford a car and the gas for it, you can put together the cash for a Yeti mug should you want to. So that can’t be it. If prestige is what they’re going for, one might as well put a Coca-cola logo on there instead to signify you will pay that extra dollar a case for what’s inside your Yeti. No Walmart-brand cola for me, it would scream to the masses!

Maybe one day people will yawn and ask “Who?” when somebody starts talking about a Kardashian. Maybe someday those TV explorers will actually find a bigfoot out for a stroll instead of just hearing mysterious growls in the forest or seeing bark oddly ripped off tall trees. Maybe one day we’ll know where those other socks go in the washing machine. And maybe one day someone will explain why they want to put a $4 sticker for a $20 item on their car. Then again, maybe some things we just were never meant to know.

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