Tuesday, February 14, 2006

From a Suburban Mom

I saw the freeway blogging site sometime around the 2004 election, and while I thought it was a nifty idea, I didn't figure I was the sort of person to start doing such a thing. I'm a suburban mom with three kids, which means I’m damn busy, and people like me just don't rock the boat. But with outrage upon outrage pouring out of this hellhole administration, I
started getting so wound up that my anger needed an outlet. I needed to be able to do something that would help me break out of the feeling of helplessness that our government has inflicted upon millions of its citizens.

Eventually, I came to believe that one way for me to make a difference was to take a leaf from your book and make some signs. I live in a place where the traffic is fearsomely bad: daily gridlock. It seemed a shame to waste a resource like that…

My first signs were made with a party of other like-minded folk in the area. We got together one afternoon with a rented overhead projector and cardboard we'd all scavenged… we made a LOT of signs. I'm painfully shy and hate for people to look at me, so I thought hanging up signs amid our never ending traffic was going to be miserable (even after dark), but once I'd hung my first sign over a big interstate highway and circled around for a look, I was hooked. All anyone ever saw of me was my silhouette: after that, all they saw was my sign.

I was so proud of my first signs I spent the next day riding around and checking to see if they were still up. They all lasted at least a day, and one stayed up over a month. Since then I’ve hung more signs than I can remember. I keep a few in my minivan just in case an opportunity arises while I'm out running errands.

I’ve also started freewayblogging with my older kids, who are nine and ten. They love painting signs and going out on sorties in the dark of night. I get to teach them the importance of the right to free speech, the people who created this country and the things they stood for. I explain that in a democracy we have the right to hang up signs and other people have the right to take them down. And that we have the right to hang up more. Like nothing else, Freewayblogging teaches the essential spirit of the American Revolution: the importance of standing up for what you believe in as well as the importance of not getting caught.

I never would have thought of myself as a guerrilla. I drive a minivan, for Pete's sake. I'm a mother. But once I started hanging up signs, I didn't want to stop. I get an ego boost out
of seeing my work hung up there for thousands of people to see every day. I get a surge of energy and hopefulness from hanging signs that helps dispel the outrage fatigue. I love the delicious taste of revolution on a small scale, and the sense of adventure I get in scoping out places and hanging the signs. I love not feeling helpless and captive to this lousy administration. I love actively using my rights as a citizen of the United States. And I love the exercise. Really, it's everything a suburban housewife could ask for. There is no down side to freeway blogging: it's good for my kids, it's good for me, and it's good for our country.
Yours, A Suburban Mom


kim said...

"How many of these bloggers are out there? No one really knows. Who are they? Mainly, it would seem, young men of a mildly anarchic disposition, with a message to get out, a modest talent for gymnastics and a pronounced taste for the adrenalin rush of their trade"
To me the above quote is so funny, it's from the Independent (UK) newspaper (8/12/05). And here we have 2 recent profiles of bloggers, both mom's, not young, not anarchic, kind of makes you wonder about stereotypes!
Have fun, suburban mom from DC, I'm doing my part in CT.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I might not be so hot with the gymnastics, but I'm still pretty young! ; )

- Puckish

kim said...

By "not young" I meant we're not the 17-22 year olds they think we are! We're busy mom's with lives, kids, and yet we either take time from that, or work it in. It's that important to us. And if these 17-22 year olds thought a bit about it, it might become that important to them, also.
btw, got a great batch of good sized board just waiting for me at home tonight.
Can't wait.

Sadie Baker said...

You rock, suburban mom.

And if your three children turn out just like you, there is hope for our country yet.

Annie said...

Rock on, Puckish! That's so cool.

I gas pump blog and I outed myself to my daughter. (She's only 6 and she's on to her mom's political views and actions and she's a protest rally pro. Her sign says "Use Your Words, Not Your Hands!")

Gas pump blogging is where I take stickers (easy to remove, cuz I'm not evil like that) and stick them next to the "dollar amount" readout on the pump.

Some of my labels accidently end up in women's bathroom stalls ::whistling innocently::

Email me if you'd like a copy of the stickers. They print on Avery labels #8162.