Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Out of State License Plates

Ever since I moved back to the Houston area I believe I have been seeing more out of state license plates driving around than ever before! I honestly see at least one (and usually many more) every single day. Maybe I'm just noticing them more, but I don't think so. I'm regularly seeing license plates from Oklahoma, Mississippi, New Mexico, Wyoming, Arizona, California, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Ontario (Canada?!), New Jersey (weird), and even a couple from Washington state (I take those personally). It's not like Texas is a state that you just pass through (except maybe in the panhandle). If you drive through Texas, it pretty much has to be intentional because once you're inTexas the quickest way out is probably the way you came in. Texas is a BIG state. Why are there so many out-of-staters here?!

Take today for instance, it's only lunch time and I have already seen license plates from Oklahoma, Florida, Utah, South Carolina, and Georgia. The last two were really crazy. I was pulling into Sonic for a large unsweetened iced tea (my current obsession) and I was actually thinking about how I've been seeing all these license plates when I looked to my right and there was the South Carolina license plate. SC plates always remind me of my best friend AJ
because that is where she's from. So then I IMMEDIATELY looked to my left and saw a car with the Georgia license plate - which is where AJ now lives. Both these license plates in a Houston suburb, in the same Sonic parking lot?! Weirdness.

But the one that takes the cake is Florida license plates. For months now I have been seeing at least one Florida license plate per day. I saw a lot of them when I lived in Oregon (opposite corners of the country anyone?). I saw them in Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado as I was driving from Oregon to Houston. And since being back in Texas I have seen Florida license plates in Houston, Fort Worth, and Lubbock. What is going on? Are the people of Florida just really mobile? Is there a mass exodus from Florida going on? Is Florida that bad? I recently went to the bank to ask a question about my account and the teller told me she had just moved to Houston from FLORIDA! I wanted to shake her and say, "why are you all here?!?!". But I thought that would be weird.

Want to hear something else weird? When I was leaving Portland I stopped to get gas in a tiny, middle-of-nowhere town in Southeastern Oregon. In Oregon the gas stations have employees who pump your gas for you, you don't have a choice. So this really young teenager was pumping my gas, he saw my Texas license plate and told me that he had recently lived in the Houston area. Actually in the Clear Lake area. Off of Nasa Parkway. In those apartments across from the Arlan supermarket with the sno-cone hut in the parking lot. Which is literally about 5 minutes from my parents' home! What's the likelihood that a kid in a small town in Southeastern Oregon, working at a gas station, would have lived a few minutes from the exact location where I was headed on that long journey? Oregon is a l.o.n.g. way from Houston. Long. Weird.

The last weird thing, and this is only slightly weird, is that a couple of weeks after I moved back to Houston I went to a family reunion near Austin. While there I ended up talking to one of my dad's cousins who had lived in Eugene, Oregon for 12 years. She now lives back in Texas, but she could really relate to my love for Oregon and how much I'm missing it right now. She said, "yes, you really leave a part of your heart in Oregon". I couldn't agree more.

And this, this is my most favorite license plate. I wish I saw it as much as those dumb Florida license plates.

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