the changing of the plates and other mental gymnastics…

I like to drive, which is a good thing as I do a lot of it – not just commuting but taking myself all over the state for various and sundry purposes that we don’t need to get into here.  I have, on occasion when the weather is right and the CD changer loaded, hopped in my vehicle and travelled to…nowhere, taking turns at will and exploring hitherto un-travelled roads – at least for me.  I figure every road goes somewhere so “getting lost” really isn’t possible.  I know, I know..GPS.  Let me state that I do not now, nor will I ever have a GPS device in my car.  What fun is that?  If I get confused I have two options: 1) pull out a map, 2) stop and ask,  3) (three options, I have three options) just keep driving.

When I was a kid, action two above was as simple as finding a gas station.  I don’t know about where you live but in the Garden State these days getting accurate directions from the local Exxon just ain’t gonna happen and here’s why — 95% of the kind folk working at fuel stops don’t speak english outside of “regular”, “premium”, “fill up” and “dollars”.  And for the remaining 5%, they know how to get from home to the gas station and back again.  Being able to get to Main Street or Madame Cornelia’s Pleasure Palace is not in their vast wealth of US geography.

All the above nonsense is prelude to stating that I am quite good at directions when driving, i pick out specific landmarks,  I notice street signs, stores, rocks, trees.  It just comes naturally to me.  One little time-killing activity I use to amuse myself (and believe me, no one I’ve ever told this to, including the Mrs.,  thinks this is amusing – I just get strange looks, like being measured for a white jacket with arm buckles in the back) I notice license plates.  Now most people do glance when they see something out of state; the different colors and designs catch the eye from the usual state plates.  But that’s not what I’m talking about.  I have noticed that plates in NJ are distributed, more or less, sequentially: AAA 111, AAA 112, etc etc.

The most recent format for Jersey plates is AAA 12A.  Well about 6 months ago, the Z plates started appearing ZAA 111…you get the idea.  So a change in plate format was coming.  Would the color change?  What was the new format going to be?  I think the last Z plate I saw was ZZU 12T or something like that.  So I’ve been waiting on pins and needles, like a kid on Christmas eve, to spot a new plate.

Finally, yesterday, I saw one…all they did was flip it so the new format is A11 AAA.  Sort of anti-climactic.

yes.  i have no life.


Filed under life

13 responses to “the changing of the plates and other mental gymnastics…

  1. And I thought I was weird for having a photo collection of vanity plates.

  2. Being from new jersey as well I agree with you. I love going all around the state finding new places to visit. It is always when we take the road that is less frequently taken that we find a gem of discoveries. I remember going down to Newark where I found an amazing Portuguese restaurant when I was going the wrong way home.

  3. I’ve lived in Monmouth County for all but five years of my live, which were wasted in Ocean County. I know just about every route to everywhere here due to my parent’s love of the Sunday Drive thing when I was a kid.
    This state has miles of forgotten roads, I go exploring myself once in a while, just for fun.

  4. in trinidad the license plates on the whole island are issued in a very predictable order and the plate stays with the car no matter how many owners it goes thru. we had a PAL7554 when the newest cares were PAZ and PBA series cars. it was the source of much amusement that a couple of americans drove such an old car.

    me? i see words in the license plates. our old van was ANL###… Yeah, i used to crack up at that one.

  5. oh, and i have another friend who takes license plates and either factors out the numbers or comes up with other equations. so yer fairly normal, or maybe it’s just my friends and me who are completely weird and you just fit in well.

  6. I never noticed the license plate thing. You’re pretty perceptive. Not weird. Okay, maybe a little weird but so am I. We smell our own.


  7. A long time ago in a place far away, I once saw a plate which read: 810 JOB

    This was in California and the font they were using at the time made the first digit look very similar to the last letter.

    Unfortunately, I was late for class so I did not have time to go get my camera out of my room. After class, that car was gone and I never saw it again.

    It was not a personalized plate and I do not know whether the owner of the car had any idea how the plate can be interpreted. Note that this was long before Monica and Bill…


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