I’ve just driven all the way home behind a car with a personalised number plate. Put aside for one moment, if you will, all the dangers of black ice, potholes and furtive mobile phone users and give due regard to the potentially hazardous distractions of the personalised plate. This one said θENURS – of course I just had to know what the driver looked like. So I overtook and looked left just to check. Not that naughty, as it turns out.
This is not the first time that personal plates have influenced a road trip. We spent a frustrating drive to Dunedin, passing and re-passing a car with a plate so cryptic we never did work it out. I’ve also kept my distance from a driver whose plate spelt out WODEVA, knowing full well that his attitude to insurance cover would probably be cavalier, to say the least.
They’re not cheap either. You could buy a small African nation for the cost of the really rare ones, take for example KIWI1 or IM2SXE. So why do people love them so much? Kerre Woodham has some answers in her book GR8PL8S and even the New Zealand Government has given credibility to this little bit of madness with guidelines for their use.
Teeth grindingly annoying as they may be though, once you’ve noticed them, its hard to resist the temptation to reduce your entire life to six or seven integers. I went to a New Zealand website and tried out a few. RDZOND – taken. USNZULZ – taken. Even FUTSEK (South African for “go away”, I’m being polite here) amazingly enough, was taken. Finally I managed to get a click away from one that hadn’t yet been grabbed – that’s right: θEBLOGA!