The City

Making fun of cars

It’s official; Highway 680 is the epicenter for all things lame when it comes to car decorations.

Taking BART as often as humanly possible, I had almost forgotten about the white-sticker families that populate the back windows of so many SUV’s in the East Bay. San Francisco is a bit different in its demographics, so sticker families are rare in my neck of the woods. However, Sports Girl Liz did see a Mini Cooper with a sticker of just a woman with a cat. Hey, in the city a family like that qualifies as nuclear.

Anyway, on my drive to Danville this morning for our weekly work meeting, 680 was littered with cars rocking all sorts of flair. First there was a Yukon with a standard stick-figure family: Dad, Mom, three kids and a dog. Then I saw an oh-so-casual Flip-flop Family plastered on the corner of a Toyota Sienna’s back window.

Then the license plates started catching my attention. Some personalized plates are sort of clever, some are obnoxious or boastful, some are just indecipherable. And some are completely moronic, like the two I saw today.

The first one was on the back of a Honda Prelude, with California plates that said “CAREBRE.” At first I couldn’t even tell what this person was trying to say. I’m guessing the “BRE” portion was short for “BEAR,” so either they love the kids toys from Care-a-Lot but aren’t the best of spellers. If they are able to spell, maybe “CAREBRE” means they own some sort of beauty salon or nudist colony.

Then came the plate to beat all plates in terms of moronicism (not a word, I know). At Mother’s Day brunch the sticker-family story came up, and my sister (Meg Marlin) mentioned how she doesn’t understand the chrome license plate frames people get that say the name of the car in cursive, like “Accord” or “Stratus.”

This morning I saw something that trumps that: A license plate that read: “CAMRYLE.” And yes, this person was driving a Camry LE. Not only is this car one of the most common and least exciting cars on the road, the information on the plate is on the back of the car already. I wondered if this car was owned by an English teacher, a person so anti-math that the idea of any numbers desecrating his or her vehicle was too much to bear (or is it “bare?”). Or, maybe the owner has a hard time finding the Camry in parking lots, so to combat that issue made sure that this Camry LE was more “Camry LE” than any other.

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