And as I drive my rental car (and boy-o-boy, am I getting accustomed to the constant driving), I've noticed that lots of the vehicles here have vanity plates. I used to scoff at the notion of specialized plates, but they are such a way of life here, and there are so many witty ones.
I saw an old Volvo parked in town the other day with the license plate MON CUL.
The car disappeared before I could track down the owner. Damn. What fun! Who IS that person? And did the DMV know what that meant when they issued the plate?
Of course in France there are no specialized vanity plates, but rather the fierce loyalty of one's département indicated by the last two digits of your license plates. I was not alone in heaving sigh of relief when government efforts to eliminate the département from auto license plates was finally shot down.
It's all a matter of identity, I guess.
In France, one can proclaim one's vehicular identity by one's département on the plaques d'immatriculation.
In the US, your license plate can be an extension of your personality -- or maybe your projected persona. I spied one Virginia vanity plate on a spiffy BMW convertible that read UVA MBA. Gotcha. 'Nuff said. There are also lots of down-home and witty examples too numerous to cite. It is definitely a way of life.
So -- should I fork over the extra $10 annually and get a vanity plate that reflects my Francophile persona? As I drive around and wait at traffic lights I daydream about all sorts of catchy bite-sized logos that I could incorporate into a 6-character license plate. Then, after I've come up with the "perfect" plate, I abandon the idea as vain and frivolous. I don't really need to tout myself, right?
And yet, and yet. I am so tempted. Besides, it's fun to check out what they would look like on the DMV website.
Here are a few ideas I've come up with. Maximum 6 characters.
QUOI29 (Inspired by my blogging friend Cécile Quoi de 9)
Okay, folks: any other ideas?
Update: check out Olivier Magny's take on French license plates in Stuff Parisians Like.