Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Here in Ontarie-airie-airy-o the license plates are simple. It was always three lnumbers, then three letters (123 ABC), then that ran out, and for most of my life it's been three letters then three numbers. Not too many years ago they ran out of three letter license plates and moved to four letter license plates starting AAAA 123.

(yes, I promise I'm trying to take this somewhere, no I don't promise I'm actually getting there)

For nearly a year Dave and I did the long distance relationship thing while I articled (the last thing you do here before you're officially a lawyer) and he was in Teacher's College. I lived in Ottawa, he lived in Windsor.

This meant I worked long(ish) hours Monday-Friday, and often drove down to Windsor for the weekend. For those of you unfamiliar with Ontario geography the drive looks something like this:

Between those little dots is about 492 miles, door to door. Many Fridays after work I'd walk home to my apartment, load up the cats and a couple of changes of clothes, and drive the sometimes 7 hours, sometimes 9 hours to get there. It all depended on traffic, and since the 401 is the busiest and widest highway in the world. There are times I could fly down in seven hours (which yes, probably involved breaking the speed limit), and other times I would hit construction or traffic and take hours upon hours and would end up just sitting there waiting for traffic to just. move. already.

Usually by Friday night I was already fairly exhausted by the work week, so leaving Ottawa at 6:00pm, getting through traffic on the 417 would land me in Windsor at about 1am or later. This, of course included a stop at my parents' place because leaving food out for the cats is not such a great option with one like Rhett. I think when he sees plates of food for the weekend he thinks to himself "well, better eat it all now, there's no telling where my next meal could be coming from!" Hence his current shape is best described as "round."

Needless to say it was a fairly exhausting trip, driving 1600 km over 14-18 hours in a weekend so Dave and I both developed "keep awake" games and little tricks to pass the time by.

Never being a math kid (as my alcoholic grade 12 teacher would quickly tell you), I think it's funny my game was to add up the numbers in my speedometer, or I would add, then subtract, then add each number so that 93,762 was 8 (9-3+7-6+2) or get all excited when it was a pallindrome number (like 85,658). Sad, but it kept me awake just as well as the truckers falling asleep in Tilbury drifting into my lane did, though that was a "suddenly more awake" feeling.

Dave, of course made lots of trips after school to Ottawa as well, and his game is more license-plate centred.

As I mentioned, our license plates are typically ABCD 123 type format. I think the plates started at AAAA, and went sequentially to AAAB then AAAC, AAAD, etc. His game was to see how far we were into the "A" series and kept looking for the furthest letter.

In fact, it's such a game that occasionally when I ask how Dave's day was he'll say "Fine, OH and guess what I saw! A "AZRV" plate! Getting closer!" and later tell me that two kids got suspended in his class and he pulled a great practical joke on someone.

This past weekend on our drive to Windsor to attend his Aunt's memorial we noticed a proliferation of AZY? license plates, and I realized that his addiction was bad when he woke me up (not realizing I was alseep) to tell me he saw AZYR plates. He admits to being a bit of a "goober" about this, I still think it's cute.

edited to add: Dave thought he saw his first B license plate last night on the 401, and had to slow down to ridiculous speeds on the 401 to confirm it. He was right.


Lisa b said...

That must be love. I worked in Windsor and in Ottawa on seperate occasions. I used to think the drive back home to TO was almost unbearable from both. I cannot imagine having to drive the whole thing in one stretch. Particularly that stretch to Windsor after you pass London. Good idea with the license plate game.

metro mama said...

Holy! I'll second what Lisa B said. Especially the London - Windsor stretch. Bo boring, so bleak.

Must be love!

Heather said...

lisa b: It definitely is, and even now I wonder how the heck we did it.

metro mama: That stretch is SO AWFULLY bleak, and so often filled with truckers that are falling asleep.