Licence plates

Several years ago, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation introduced seven-character licence plates. Since shortly after this event, they’ve been driving me batty. The new plates started, logically enough, with AAAA-000, and proceeded through AAAA-999 and then AAAB-000; my own plate begins with “AC”. But then came the most evil occurrence: plates beginning with ADSF.

I’m a QWERTY touch-typist. Since grade eight the left-hand “home row” characters have been engraved in my brain: ASDF. It’s second nature. After alphabetical order, “home row” order is the most recognizable sequence of letters I can think of.

One of these things is not like the other

Let me repeat that sequence: A, S, D, F. Now compare it to that licence plate prefix: A, D, S, F. The middle letters are reversed, and to a left-brained guy like me that is, simply, wrong!

I’ve been waiting for the day when ASDF plates appear—in fact, I’m sure they have—but do you think I’ve seen any? No. I’m beginning to think that every ADSF plate was issued in this city, and the ASDF plates were only ever distributed to Moose Factory or Lively. (Not that I have any problem with either town… they’re just the smallest, recognizable, relatively remote places I could think of off the top of my head.)

“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

There’s nothing that can be done, of course, short of the Oedipal solution. Fortunately I don’t know anyone named Jocasta, let alone anyone who might lend me any jewellery.

But the great thing about this teensy little character flaw—and the scariest—is that there are bound to be other people out there who feel exactly the same way. So this is my primal scream, and my announcement to the world that I’m a freak of nature who’s obsessed with a logical, innocuous, trivial, aggravating chain of alphanumeric characters. The quote from Peter Steiner above is slightly inaccurate: in weblogs on the Internet, everyone knows you’re a dog—because you tell them!