I saw an old Ford Escort parked on my block earlier. Its front license plate was sitting loose on the dashboard in front of the steering wheel. The number on the plate nearly matched the number on my replacement plates — the letters were the same and the numeric part was just 31 higher than mine. It seems likely that the plates were picked up sometime in the last couple of weeks from the same suburban Department of Licensing storefront where I picked up my replacement plates. (This DOL location didn’t seem to be state run, by the way. It appeared to be a private sub-licensed DOL. The name on the sign out front was something closer to “Bill’s Department of Licensing” than “State of Washington Department of Licensing”.)
When I saw the license plate in that car window this morning, I stopped and stared for a few seconds and thought about coincidence. Then I crossed in front of the Escort and into the street — the sidewalk was blocked ahead where a construction crew has been making an empty lot out of a couple of old houses — and I walked the rest of the way to my car and realized that I’d caught a glimpse of a pattern, not a coincidence.