June 3, 2008 - State Of Mind
This is the fifth year that the dedicated staff of edhat.com has spent precious non-returnable hours driving through local parking lots near and far on the lookout for out-of-state license plates. We don't know why - maybe a shift in the tectonic plates is drawing Santa Barbara further away from the rest of the country - but every year we spend more time finding fewer license plates. This year, we drove through just about every lot off of State Street, from Alamar to THE 154, and we only found 25 plates that weren't made and registered in the Golden State.
It could be the high gas prices, or it could be that fewer new residents are buying up homes. But for the most part, out-of-state is out-of-mind. Rest assured, most people with licenses driving around these parts had to go through the California DMV to get them.
What about the plates we found? Well, we found that the locations on our short list of plates were, for the most part, different than the locations we found in previous years. Sure, you're more likely to see a plate from a nearby state than one from far away. But, this year we found plates from Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, and Virginia (no, no, Nicole - there were none from West Virginia).
To recap past years’ plate surveys: In 2004, Colorado dominated the plate scene; in 2005, it was Arizona; in 2006, it was Oregon; in 2007, there was a four-way tie between Idaho, Illinois, Nevada, and Ohio. This year, the hot plate was from our neighbor to the east, Nevada. We asked Ed why are we getting a wacky inconsistency in our surveys from year to year. Ed shrugged and said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."
You can always tell Ed is in a good mood when he starts quoting Emerson.
The second place plate this year was Minnesota, visitors from Lake Wobegon no doubt. Third place was a three-way tie between Oregon, Florida, and Washington. In the contest yesterday, no one had Minnesota. Wag was the only subscriber who had Nevada first, and two of the third place plates. The day after the Dog Mile, Wag wins a $25 gift card to State and A.