27 November 2007

Car 57, where are you?

Got me a 56 today.

56 what? Not 56 anything - just a 56. On a licence plate.

There's a game I've been playing. I started in July of '92 when I spotted a licence plate with a 1 on it. Then I found a 2, then a 3, &c. It went fairly quickly up through 13 - about seven months - but then it took over two years to find a 14 (during which time I drove from CT out to IL and back, and then down to VA, without success). In the meantime, I saw a 0, so I started over again and worked my way back up to 13 before finally spotting the 14 I needed. The game continued, in fits and starts, but then I got stuck on 50; it took three years to finally find one, but then I got a 51 the very next day. It took another three years to spot a 52, but when I did (in Slovenia!), I again found my next number the following day (in Italy!). A couple years after that, I actually got a 54 and a 55 on the same afternoon, less than a minute apart. (Luckily, the two fire trucks passed me in the correct order, or I'd have been really aggravated....) And now, two and a half years later, I have a 56.

Rules? Of course there are rules - and of course they make things harder, or it wouldn't have taken me 15+ years to get as far as I have.
1. Any kind of official licence plate counts: car, truck, motorcycle, trailer, whatever.

2. You have to use the complete number. IKN 214 can't be used as a 4 or a 14; it can only be counted as a 214. (Good luck getting that far.) The friend who taught me this game was looking for a 43 at the time; I remember her husband's laughing as he pointed out a car with the number 4343.

3. The group has to consist of just the number, without anything else. If you live in one of those states that have licence plates like 23B J15, you might as well not bother. The most elegant plate I've seen was my 6, which was just that: 6. Nothing else. (Not long afterwards, the state of CT decided that taxis should have plates with numbers beginning and ending with T, so that cab got retagged as T6T. A shame.)

4. If the plate has two numbers, you have to use the one on the right. 101 783 can only be used as a 783, not as a 101.

5. As in maths, leading zeroes don't count. 0014 = 014 = 14.

Now if only the 57 I used to see at work every day were still there....

Update 2244 17 Oct 11: Edited to fix a spelling error. And almost four years after originally posting this, I'm now looking for a 62....

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