Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Taking License(s) on the Highway

Hot Darn! Kate Skates!

O HAPY DZ. Kate skates. Spell check would go into overdrive deciphering license-plate speak during a 1346-mile drive from Florida to Massachusetts. The long, unwinding road from I-95 Exit 156 in Sebastian, FL to I-495, Exit 31, Littleton Common/Groton, MA gets boring. Scenic it is not. The leaf-filled trees overhanging Connecticut’s Merritt Parkway in are a welcome sight after Newark's factories, the gritty streets of New York, and merging hell trying to access the George Washington Bridge. Keeping track of license-plate speak is a great way to keep my eyes busy and my psyche alert.
Personalized license plates abound these days, but it’s hard to figure out what DONUT H8 (do not hate) means when you’re barreling down the road at 75 mph. Having a willing scribe in the passenger seat is helpful at such times. My scribe, my 18-year-old son, however, was not willing and complained most times I called out “FA8 WIZ—write that one down!” Slow-motion, tortoise-style, he would reach for the pen and pad of paper and say, “What was that again?” Meanwhile, I would repeat, “ENDURANC—endurance without the e at the end,” five or six times so I wouldn’t forget.
My enthusiasm was not shared. Some plates were so bad, he refused to even write those down. “I want the bad ones, too!” I would say, “for comparison.” Nothing doing. “I am not writing P LUTTU,” he would flatly state. I finally convinced him to write each one when I took my hands off the wheel and said, “Give me the pad and the pen!” He (wisely) figured anything was better than having his distracto-matic mother writing while driving—even if that meant writing – STAR – when it was the last thing he wanted to do.
Had my scribe been more cooperative, and looked for plates with me, our count would have exceeded 51 I’m certain. Of those 51, a smattering are worthy of sharing (and, of course, my comments).
DOCS MOM and DR MOM 18 mean at least two moms on the highway are proud their offspring is a doctor. Perhaps that child went to an Ivy League university, like one driver. Not content with bragging rights after being admitted to Harvard, he decided none shall forget he still meanders the Cambridge campus: IN HARVD.
Misfires are more common that we might think, even if spelled differently: MIS F1RE and MSFIRE.
When one licensee is not driving, he is doing something else: IRUNALOT.
This driver advises stressed out fellow commuters: ORUN MILA.
It would have been interesting to see these two cars side by side:
Veterans want us to know they have served and I salute them (in my mind, I must keep my hands on the steering wheel): VETREN and IRAQ 02.
I am blessed to have two of these: GR8 SI5.
Did someone get weary from too many honking horns? RU DEF 2.
One family bought a huge van for their pet: 4R POOH.
I couldn’t figure out if this person likes a state or a gaming console:
One driver would B HAVNA better time if she did not spend so much creeping down I-95 in Virginia (along with hundreds of other motorists inching forward minute by minute). At least R RAGIN didn’t get too upset and crept along with the rest of us. Another driver was nonchalant: SHRUG.
“That one’s dumb! I’m not writing it!” said my scribe. “T ROSE is my favorite perfume, so just write it!” I retorted.
We saw an OGRE 5, a misspelled CHOLE, LE DADDY passed us twice, and the University of Florida fan plates must be taken for the most part:
G8TOR 5.
My favorite? K8 SK8S. I picture Kate, ponytail flying behind her, as she whizzes down a sidewalk alongside the Indian River Lagoon, a huge smile on her face. HOT DERN!

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