Sunday, September 30, 2012

The License Plate Game

Sure, sure, summer's come and gone but have I got a road trip game for you! I'm on the road five days a week and to keep myself from getting bored and veering into the rest of traffic, I've created a little game to keep my mind occupied.

It's about license plates. Back when I was a kid, to keep myself entertained on car trips before the age of iPods, CD players and such, I'd look at all the license plates from the cars around us. If I noticed state plates other than New York ones (It's where I live, btw), I thought it'd be pretty neat and I could mark down how many of them I've spotted over the years. Well folks, after 25 years of life, I've seen all fifty states and five Canadian provinces without ever going west of Sandusky, Ohio. Those provinces? Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island. That last one was on a motorcycle that I saw on a ferry to Burlington, Vermont.

But it wasn't until recently that I decided to turn all this into a game and create a point system of sorts. Since I'm not a greedy bastard, I've decided to share my game with the rest of you. My loyal reader. Readers. Jeez, I post so rarely these days I don't even know how many I have left.

If you ARE reading this...please don't go and enjoy my game. The rules are as follows:

1) Every state has a point attached to it. The standard will be my home state of New York. One of its more common plates look like this:

Not an actual number. Hopefully.
In your home state, it gets zero points since you see it EVERYWHERE.

2) Every state that directly borders your state gets one point. Every state that borders that state gets two points, and so on. Since cars from the neighboring states are most likely to cross into yours. If you spot Florida, it automatically gets two points if you're in any state besides Florida. You'd be surprised how often you see it.

In my state of New York, I only count New Jersey and Connecticut as one-point states since I live on Long Island. Of course when you're up in the hills of Upstate New York, of course one-pointers would include Massachusetts, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. I don't usually think about living in what essentially a Corner State, but articles like this usually do it.

3) If you're on a coast state, or if you're on the northern or southern borders of the country, states from the opposite coast/border gets s points. If you're from New York and see California, or if you're in California and see New York, you'd get five points.

4) Washington DC or a US Government Plate is automatically five points. Unless of course you're actually IN Washington, DC. Then  it's two.

5) Spotting a plate from Alaska or Wyoming is automatically 20 points, Hawaii is 25 points. Because even though it's possible, it's highly unlikely you'll see any of them. You'll have a better chance if you live on the west coast, but the points still stand. And if you RE in Hawaii, than any other state gets 50 points. the hell did that get there?·

6) Seeing a plate from Canada or Mexico is ten points. Yeah, you're more likely to see a plate from Canada than one from Alaska, Hawaii or Wyoming.

7) If you spot a vanity plate, you add one point to the value of the plate. So a New York vanity plate would be one point, New Jersey would be two, and so on.

8) If your car goes into another state, every plate from your home state, except for yours, gets one point. The plate of the state you're currently in then receives zero points.

This gets rather complicated if you're from New York like I am and then cross into New Jersey with every other New Yorker out there. In that special case, your home state gets zero points until you get past the first toll booth after the border, or until you go onto another road or something.

9) Finally, if you happen to see a car or truck with two different state plates, add the value of the two plates together. You're more likely to see this on tractor trailers, as the cab and trailer could come from different states, but I've seen two normal cars with two state plates before. They were parked next to each other in Burlington, Vermont and it remains the only time I've seen Wyoming's plate in person.

10) At the end of the trip, add up all your points. The winner gets whatever you decide the prize should be, but true gentlemen play for bragging rights.

Of course, if you live in another country, replace whatever I said about the states with provinces or whatever your country has instead. I hope that you play this game yourself, and that you silently thank me for the thirty seconds your mind spends on that and not on the overbearing depression that is rush hour traffic.

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