I'm sure you are all familiar with some version of this game. I am not even sure it has a name at all, but my siblings and I played it in the back seat of the family station wagon when travelling on summer vacations.
The rules of the game were quite simple. All you had to do was be in a moving vehicle, spot a license plate on a car from a distant State and be the first to call it out. The person with the most distant State at the end of the trip won... Well, we never really won anything, or anything tangible, that is. I guess all we ever really won was bragging rights for that particular trip. On a typical 100 mile trip to our Barnstable, MA cottage, if you had a license plate from say, Florida, or Missouri, you were a contender for sure.
In those days, we never saw a plate from California or Washington, and Alaska, well that one was just about out of the question. In retrospect, that was probably because a car capable of actually travelling all the way across the country had probably not been manufactured yet. And so it was that three kids managed to keep themselves occupied during a three hour trip and our parents were most grateful for this. Of course, you could still argue...about who spotted the license plate first, whether Virginia was farther than Mississippi, or who wasn't touching or looking at who.
Of course, some years have passed and I don't travel on family vacations with my siblings, however, my wife and I still play this game whenever we are in the car. The rules are basically still the same, although I have had to make some minor adjustments. You see, I find myself travelling much of the time in the passing lane, and therefore it is simple geometry that places my wife's eyes closer to almost any other plate in the adjacent lanes and I take exception to this obvious advantage. Now, to level the playing field, I use distraction. "Sweetie, do you think you could find something on the radio" or "maybe you could look for a nice Ukrainian restaurant that specializes in French pastry on the GPS." This gives me the opportunity to spot that Idaho, Alaska, or California plate. Although I think it is a fair tactic to use, my wife takes exception and the arguments continue from our childhood. We are also still never REALLY sure if Indiana is farther than Georgia.
A few weeks ago, we were on our way to Walmart. Now, I don't tend to frequent Walmart, not because the people that go there are more than a little scary, but because I am not a shopper at all. They do, however, carry a particular type of Christmas bulb that we like for the window candles. And so we went.
As we pulled into a parking spot, and before the car had stopped moving, I heard her utter the word that will forever change the license plate game for us. I had never considered this license plate could actually exist or why it would be needed at all. It's not like a resident of this place is going to take a leisurely Sunday drive over to say, Portland, Oregon, Portland, Maine, or PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE. But believe it or not, this photo was snapped in the Walmart parking lot in Portsmouth, NH. (Please note, I have altered the plate number to protect this individual's privacy)
Now, for those of you who are about to dash off to Google the location of Guam, and its relative distance to New Hampshire, Florida or California, I will save you the trouble. Guam is farther than ANYWHERE.
As far as the license plate game, my wife now has bragging rights...FOREVER.