License Plate Watch

The other day Captain Jelly Belly, who is in Grade 7, came home with a newly assigned project. He has to do a profile on “someone he admires” and here’s what he had to say about that: “I wasn’t allowed to do Donald Trump, so I picked you.”

Flattery, it’ll get you anywhere, am I right?

Anyway, he’s doing his project on me, and I asked him why he admires me, and was all, “I don’t know, you work hard, I guess?” I guess so, little man, I GUESS SO. Sigh.

So we talked about different jobs I have had and I made him a list of all the things I do in life, including work past and present, running of the household, volunteer work, etc. At the end of this life profile I added what I thought was a fun little section of weird things I like. Things like Dance! Show! and pie and trivia contests and tap dancing in line at the grocery store.

Tops on that list was License Plate Watching, something I have been doing for years and years. I think I really got into it when they changed over from the 111 AAA format in Ontario to AAAA 111, since they had run out of numbers. That would have been, oh, maybe 1997? It was right before our good friends Mark and Shirley (hi, Mark and Shirley!) moved to California and for a long time, the four of us used the new license plates as sort of a tracker to mark the time that they’d been away.

Things in the License Plate Watch world are really heating up these days – at least in Ontario – because we are very, very close to seeing our first “C” license plate. I’m part of a Facebook group that plate watches and we’re up to the “BZ” prefix, meaning that “C” is just around the corner, and trust me, we are all DYING to be the first to get a pic of a C plate to upload. I’m so happy to say that I’ve got the whole family on board with this, too – the kids are always noting license plates when we go out now, and Sir Monkeypants is the absolute king – he even called me this morning to report a sighting of BZDW 381 getting on the Queensway in Kanata – a major coup, as this is the latest anyone has seen so far.

We were visiting my mom a couple of weeks ago and happened to see a BYYY (which was still pretty new at the time, although a couple of BZA’s had been seen by then) and I commented on it, and she had no idea what I was talking about. I explained about how we were getting close to “C” and she was surprised to hear it. Plate noticing is so common now for the five of us, I was surprised myself to discover that not everyone is driving around with baited breath, distractedly holding up a camera just in case they catch a C. (Here, I must admit I have an ongoing fantasy of mounting a camera on the dash that takes a picture from a remote mounted on my steering wheel and OH MY GOD, I am the biggest GEEK EVER.)

Anyway, long story short (too late!), I thought I’d mention this in case anyone else wants to get on the license plate watching bandwagon (you know you do). Mark and Shirley – you should totally come back for this, don’t you think? It’s an OCCASION.

15 thoughts on “License Plate Watch

  1. Oh my … since I also (like your son) respect you, maybe I need to give this license plate watching thing a re-think. I have, for many years, ridiculed my husband because as a child he would sit on his front steps and write down license plate numbers in a notebook.

    He once witnessed an accident! Sadly, though, I don’t think his testimony was required in court.

    Honestly, I think it was a sanity-saving move by his parents (“go outside and write down license plates”) but he did enjoy it …

    You know what would be cool? A slab cake decorated like a license plate to celebrate the first “C” plate sighting – it’s just the right shape!

    1. Ha! At the risk of seeming even MORE geeky, I admit that it’s long been a fantasy of mine to break a case wide open with my timely noting of a license plate. I’m totally jealous of your husband’s big break!

      Also: brilliant idea about the cake. I am totally doing that. (If only pie was shaped like a license plate, my world would be complete 🙂 ).

  2. OMG Lynn, I am laughing so hard. First at the idea that he was “not allowed” to choose Donald Trump. All the other kids had picked him? The teacher was taking a stand on who is and is not admirable? And then at the thought that your son has you in the same league as Trump. Let’s think about that for a minute… LOL you can tell I’m having fun with this. 🙂 As for license plates, knowing you as I do, and knowing how incredibly busy you are and how much you accomplish in the course of a day, I am admiring you even more than I already do for actually knowing that we are about to move to C license plates in Ontario!! You are by far my favourite geek, my friend! XO

  3. This is a delightful game. I didn’t even know what you meant at the beginning of the post, and by the end of the post I wanted to go outside and watch license plates go by.

  4. I love North American license plates. French ones are boring, random numbers and letters, the last two being (were?) the number of the department. Like 75 is Paris, 85 is Vendée, 44 is Nantes, etc. That’s how you spot “tourists” and bitch about bad drivers “oh, look at the Parisian on holiday… that 75 can’t even park!”

    Here, I’m a sucker for vanity plates. Some are funny, some are kind of embarrassing.

  5. mdavis94538

    Mark of Mark & Shirley fame here. Yup, I remember when the license plate obsession started – I think you sent us a postcard saying that you’d spotted an ABBA plate which was very exciting at the time. Amazing that you’re already up to “C” (or is it more amazing that it took almost 20 years just to get to “C”?).

    We just got back from a spring break road trip through a bunch of national parks in Arizona and Utah, and our older son was getting into the license plate thing. It reminded me of when I was a kid and the whole family drove from southern Ontario to the west coast and I kept a notebook with counts of all the out-of-province plates I saw (including lots of American ones). The highlight was a sighting of the rare NWT license plate in the shape of a polar bear. Do they still have those?

  6. Well I am so excited to tell you that my friend just got a new car yesterday – license plate BZEP 398. So not quite the “C” you’re looking for, but getting oh so close . . . 🙂

  7. JOIN the Facebook Ontario platewatch group… or just post pics with #platewatch

    I’ve been watching plates since 1974 when somebody changed their minds and the idea of non annual plates was born. It’s really exciting when you see a 1973 plate on a car. An original… with the 73 in the corner. They’re the oldest legal plate you can spot in Ontario.

    By the way, we’re up to BZW plates as of today.

  8. Lynn, my husband and I have been watching license plates in Kanata ever since this post, and yesterday we saw a CAAK! What was the first C plate you’ve seen?

    1. Sweet, I have converted you! I saw my own CAAK (it must be an Ottawa thing) about three days ago – and we celebrated with a license plate cake! I’ll blog it when I get the pics off my camera :).

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