Thursday, September 16, 2010

Random Thoughts from My Commute...the License Plate Game

I have a weird talent. Well, I'm not sure it's so much a talent as it is a store of fairly useless knowledge.

In Indiana, counties are assigned a number according to alphabetical order. i.e. Adams County is 1. Whitley County is 92.

If you give me a number between 1 and 92, I can most likely name the county assigned to that number or at least be very, very close (within one or two counties).

I amazed a coworker the other day while sitting in a staff meeting. We were reviewing a project that had the counties listed by number and she would throw a number out and I would tell her the county. (Our staff meetings can get a little long and it's better to do that than start spinning in my chair which I've been known to do on occasion.)

Now this ability is not so much a gift. It's more like it was a way to pass time while I'm in the car.

You see, our license plates USED to prominently display the county number as the first two numbers on the plate. See...

41 is Johnson County! See, I'm good.

My coworker blamed attributed my incredible talent to the fact that I grew up in the country. She said as a city girl, she had never known anyone with this particular ability. I'm not sure it's so much a factor of country living as it is a factor of growing up with my parents. I can't honestly say that I know of anyone else outside my immediate family with this same talent!

Looking at license plates and figuring out the county is something I remember doing with my family while in the car as a child. It's something that I still do to this day.

As I've said in the past, I have a 50-mile one way commute to work each day and much of it's on the Interstate. So as I'm driving along, I like to see where my fellow drivers are from. If they are from counties farther away than my county, I like to think that they have a longer commute than I do and I give a little giggle. It's mean, I know, but it sustains me some mornings.

So, you can imagine my disappointment when the state changed the style of license plates a couple of years ago. Now they look like this...

Note that the county name and number are displayed in small letters at the very top of the plate. Now, this is very hard to read as you are driving down the Interstate at high rates of speed. Unless you are tailgating. I don't suggest tailgating...the cop won't accept the answer "I was just trying to see what county the car in front of me is from." Trust me, I've tried!

 Tell Us Something Good


  1. Lol! My dad had that skill... but I didn't inherit it...until now--with the new plates and all.

  2. We did that whenever we went on vacation, and my Mom carries the little card she found Lord knows where to break up any arguments we have when/if there is a "disagreement"! Oh the things we do to get down the road. Now you will have to hone your deciphering skills on the specialty plates. Some of those can cause accidents!

  3. 25-Fulton County Represents!!! I was totally bummed when they changed as it was always so helpful to know wether or not someone was from out of town or not. I only knew the counties around me and a couple of others. How I miss it!

  4. That's really funny! Somehow I've learned what cities are in what counties in NC. I don't know how I know these, but I do. It helps, though, when coding sales tax for our non profit jobs...I can quickly pull the correct sales tax county for that city instead of having to look it up all the time! :) We don't do anything like that in fact, unless you have a vanity plate, we only have one option. Boring...and you can never tell where people are from...oh, well.

  5. My Dad always did that. I also loved to do that. Now I have a hard time reading without my glasses. Only wear them when I am on the Interstates. Yes I miss them

  6. I grew up in 46-LaPorte, briefly lived in 47-Lawrence, and now live in 30-Hancock. I was really sad too when they changed the license plates.

  7. OK, my weird talent? If you name a small town in Texas I can tell you if they have a fabric store (as in high quality quilting cottons). Yeah, I'm weird like that! LOVED the darth vader brownies for the party. How did you DO that!? Really, how? Found you on New Friend Friday and here I am a new friend!




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