Saturday, October 10, 2009

Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast

I've been on the road now for four weeks, and I must confess that I'm disappointed in the license plate action to date. I'm still not really sure what the official "license plate game" is that everyone talks about, but I have one that I have played for years. Back in middle school I joined 4H, although my chapter was more "crafts and public speaking" rather than "milking cows and growing giant gourds." To keep us entertained during car trips, the club leader had us look for license plates that said 9999, and whoever came closest won. The only rule was that the numbers had to be consecutive. So if a license plate read 7438924, you would call 8924, because a number like 7438 is practically laughable. I've been playing this game since 7th grade, and the only two 9999 license plates I've come across have been since this past spring. Obviously the 8 years of waiting made them quite an event. The first was as I drove my sister and niece across a four mile long bridge to go to our parents' for our other sister's birthday dinner. I got so excited that I nearly swerved and redirected our journey to the water. After some strategizing (read: slowing down to eldery speeds) to get a good angle on the car, my sister snapped a photo on her cell phone, and I bounced into my parents' house, overjoyed to tell them the news. The second sighting was mere hours after my first international excursion ended: I was driving once again to my parents' house, jetlagged and missing Russia, and there it was, welcoming me back to the states.

I won't lie, when I was first offered the position of roadrunner, I had visions of 9999 license plates dancing in my head. Three solid months on the road have to be good for at least one or two, right? But one third of the way through travel season I am still waiting. So to all drivers in New Jersey and eastern PA, if you have a 9999 license plate and maybe feel like slowing down around a Chevy Impala with an adorable brunette in the driver's seat, you should follow your gut. And if you're a stupid blue truck with a 9988 license plate, you really aren't that great and should probably just stay at home.

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