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July 9th 2009

    It is a cultural bias, I suppose.  Something attitudinal ingrained by habit and experience.  In my case probably the phrase 'allergic reaction' describes it.  But it is a reaction which leaves me quite content on the cusp of irrational.  So more accurately, this ambience is a distress that contains a form of happiness.  A place to wallow like a hippo on a hot afternoon.

    I refer of course to the "vanity plate".  A rare sight in the hills and dales where I live.  Here, except for the young people and those who have yet to condone the expression 'late for work', my sense of place has a harmony with slow.  Occasionally progress is further delayed by older vehicles pausing to discuss the price of yurts, perhaps.  An exchange were usually a third, or fourth opinion is welcomed, and for the sake of harmony what difference might ten minutes actually make.

    But some weeks ago I travelled the roads to another place.  There, life is very different.  There life is what I will call, 'a harmony with self, exemplified by the vanity plate'.  This is a juxtaposition that promises a quicker solution than that offered by the fans of eugenics.  In short, I have decided, there is a connection between the 'vanity plate' and civil mindedness.  In such a court I would serve as the hanging judge.  And I say this because I am old enough to understand there are a few precious exceptions to every rule.

    

 

    

    On Interstate 81, in the commonwealth of Virginia, I found myself beside "ITS DEB".  "ITS DEB" had a cell phone, a happy meal and a penchant for maintaining control of the fast lane.   Behind "ITS DEB" was "5 OV US", a shiny red thing which appeared to be trying to mount "ITS DEB", because I could see no distance whatsoever between the respective vehicles.  Worse "ITS DEB" encouraged these amorous advances.  She responding to flashing lights by slowing down. 

    Behind "5 OV US" was "TROTSKY".  A reference I decided to Horsy-culture.  Because "TROTSKY" had pink ponies in the back window.  In direct succession came "ABC ME", "CUTEIM", and "AEG 97".  All of them in lather of passion for "ITS DEB" I guessed.  Their behavior was absolutely appalling.

    It was the public spectacle I think.  An example of a sense of self unallied to any notion of traditional decency.  An assertion of importance that does not go well with 'look at me' unless the world I know is quietly coming to an end.  Vaguely, I understood why the orthodox are prudish.   Worse still, my view of the median strip was completely disrupted through that part of 81 where stands of Vipers Bugloss are in June at their most glorious.

    Today, having made the trip into town - one manure spreader - one hay baler - one two vehicle and lawnmower conversation -  one 'Bush Quale' sticker -  and a road crew.   Imagine my sense of gloom when I spotted a "4 DEB" in the parking lot at the Post Office.

    

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