I can’t be the only one who notices the peculiarities of the license plates all over Dickinson. I’ve noticed a pattern over the past several months during the routine of driving around town, and of course, when parking at Walmart.
There’s the sea of out-of-state plates, which has been discussed widely, but then there’s all the North Dakota plates that start most often with the letter “J.” I’ve begun to make a game of it — will the next car I see with a North Dakota license plate be a J-plate? — most of the time it is. Right away, this bothered me — I imagined deep conspiracies of trying to easily label all the newcomers. I imagined the J-cars out on I-94 spotted by Highway Patrol officers who would knowingly smirk, ‘there’s another one.’
You may be thinking I have an active imagination — guilty. I do it partly to keep myself entertained, and partly to try to figure out what in the world is going on around me, and there’s a lot to figure out here. Though I was raised in ND, I haven’t been back since high school — I’ve lived in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes. So I wonder what the heck is going on at the local DMV — do they dream up ways to entertain themselves and then come up with ‘I know, let’s make all the new license plates start with J!’
I mentioned the J-plate pattern to someone I know, and he played right into my spoof-conspiracy theories. We both noticed not only the Js, but the JUHs and JAHs popping up on cars everywhere around town — are we newcomers known as the JUHs? — that is just too ridiculous. My personal favorite of plates I’ve seen is JUH 777 — I think of it as the lucky license plate.
This morning, I started to muse about whether I’m complaining too much about all the things I have to get used to around here, including the J-plates. So when I get my new plates, I briefly mulled over getting personalized plates that say, JOB 777. Because that’s what I have since I moved back here.