Tuesday, July 31, 2007

On the Road to Crazy Town

On most weekdays I wake up, get ready for work, and drive from the green dot on the map to the red dot on the map, following the purple line. This configuration diverts me from Route 66 just as I'm feeling tempted to get out of my vehicle (easy, since we're generally always stopped) and pound on the hood of the BMW next to me with a tire iron. I don't really have anything against BMWs. Being mostly German-bred myself, I'm inclined to appreciate hinky, expensive-to-maintain European automobiles, despite my better judgment. But almost always it's a BMW, or a Mercedes, or a Lexus, driven by a smug 20- (or 30-) something professional, who's either sitting back, serenely calculating how much money he's going to make this year, or weaving in and out of traffic as if the car was an actual license to act like an asshole. This makes me want to reach for the tire iron. And technically it's not my job to impart important life lessons, like why it's good to not be a smug asshole, but I think I'd be good at it. Which is why I generally opt for "the road less travelled."

My two and a half hours of daily commuting affords a lot of opportunity to contemplate the details on my route. Like "Huh--another McMansion" or "I wonder if that's a dead raccoon or a dead cat?" I also spend a lot of time deciphering northern Virginia's prolific collection of vanity plates. These are sometimes referred to as "personalized" plates, but trust me, at least around here "vanity" is a lot more accurate. One of my favorites today was "BMW 325I." Maybe you're having a hard time imagining what kind of vehicle it was attached to, so I'll just come right out and tell you. It was a BMW 325I. The plate struck me as slightly redundant, perched just below and a few inches to the left of the vehicle's BMW 325I insignia. Perhaps the plate allows the driver to rest assured that whether his fellow motorists are coming or going, gazing at his bumper or his trunk, there will be no mistake about what kind of a car he drives. What it lacks in flair it more than makes up for in, well, thoroughness at least. I'm thinking of starting a clothing line that features items like, say, red t-shirts, which will say "Red T-Shirt" on them. Or blue hats that say "Blue Hat." After I earn my first million, I'm going to publicly thank BMW 325I guy, for making it cool to state the obvious.

"BMW 325I" is just one of hundreds of fantastic and fascinating vanity plates. Other fun ones I've seen recently include "Luvnlyf" (I think it was on the back of a Geo, sitting in traffic, which made me wonder about the veracity of the assertion), "drswife" (yeah, yeah, we're all impressed), "ucantry" (try what, I don't know--illegal drugs, wife-swapping, marathons--the possibilities are endless) and on and on.

When I was reading about vanity plates online I happened across a website called "Dear Northern Virginia driver" which features letters from angry drivers, written to the people who pissed them off. One started "Dear Asshat in the Minivan with anger management issues..." For some reason this struck me as so ridiculously funny that I spent five minutes laughing hysterically, tears streaming down my face, as I tried over and over to read the line to Darren. I kept getting hung up on "asshat." I've never heard the term "asshat" before, but I intend to use it daily, and "jwolf," if you're out there somewhere, thank you for the absurdly hilarious tirade. It totally made my night.

No comments: