Dots on my windshield, love in my heart


By Al Vinikour    

Just like any other kid I was always touching things — if for no other reason than to feel its texture. I still do that (but I refrain from touching things that will get my face slapped). Thus it should not surprise me that it was a revelation when I first noticed those little black dots that are prevalent on most windshields of modern vehicles.

I’m surmising the purpose of those things is to somehow be a gap-filler between the driver’s and passenger’s sun visors – directly amid the placement of the inside rearview mirror.

If that’s the case then I think that hokum doesn’t wash with me. I had a 1985 Mustang GT that had a sunroof that looked like a speckled trout to ward off the sun because it didn’t have a sliding sunshade. Did that do the job? Hardly! The only thing missing from my bald head was the word “Converse.”

That aside, there are few stoplights I’m sitting at that I don’t run my fingers over the dots. I assume they’re baked on at the glass plant. But however they’re put on, I can’t keep my hands off them. I love to caress their little black beads of protuberance.

The last time I felt such complete freedom from caressing something was when I purchased my last Whiz candy bar in 1961. (Whiz was advertised as “the best candy bar there izzzz”). But I digress.

I’ve actually been running my sometimes calloused fingertips over those damned bumps to the point of having the vehicles behind me honking their horns because the light turned green and I was still sitting there. I hate to be behind somebody who does that and if the same degree of punishment was meted out to me that I would like to see happen to others who do the same thing, you people would never be reading another one of my diatribes.

Getting back to my windshield rub down, sometimes those speckles are baked inside the glass, which means I can’t feel anything when I rub it. Talk about feeling cheated! It’s bad enough that some vehicles have little bitty patches of dots, but to have no texture at all should result in the arrest, conviction and execution of the design team of that particular vehicle.

There are few enough pleasures while waiting at a stop light – especially when driving alone. But to purposely omit one of driving’s greatest natural pleasures is a bit much to comprehend.

I’m not alone in this idiosyncrasy. I’ve seen stopped cars at a busy intersection with so many drivers praying at the dotted temple that it looks like synchronized swimming during the Olympics. Just like any other habit I’m sure there’s a 12-Step program that helps people wean themselves from feeling up their vehicle’s windshield. I can hear it now: “My name is Ed…and I’m an auto glass caresser.” The crowd of 40 thousand who attended this intimate meeting at Chicago’s Soldier Field then says, “Hi, Ed.”

I guess deep down I know that technology will someday take away this last frontier of windshield eroticism. Future windshields will probably have some sort of chemical shading and won’t be able to be felt by anybody. Then every intersection with a stoplight will be inhabited by what looks like a collection of lost souls.

Hopefully my driver’s license will be revoked by then because I’ll be too old and senile to be allowed behind the wheel….and even sitting in the front passenger seat I won’t notice anything around me except a damp feeling in my trousers, which I no doubt will attribute to air-conditioned seats.