November License Plate Report

As you can probably guess from the lateness of this report, there were no new sightings in November. Boo-hoo.

However, yesterday on the boat coming home from an eye appointment in Sandwich, Malvina Forester (my trusty 2008 Subaru) happened to be right behind a car with — ta-dah! — Hawaii plates. I am not the kind of person who in ordinary circumstances will walk up to strangers and start a conversation, but my proximity to the driver of a car with a Hawaii plate on it was not an ordinary circumstance. So I knocked on the driver’s-side window.

The driver, a white woman in her maybe early 40s, did not seem alarmed or even especially surprised by the interruption. Nor was I especially surprised by her lack of surprise. On one hand, when you’re sitting in your car on the freight deck of one of the SSA (Steamship Authority) ferries, your options are limited. Your car is hemmed in by other cars, and nothing’s moving till the boat docks on the other side of Vineyard Sound. On the other hand, the worst thing that generally happens on the freight deck is that someone’s car alarm goes off and the noise drives everyone nuts.

Come to think of it, if I were a thriller or horror writer, I might set a suspense scene on the ferry freight deck. An unsuspecting car driver or passenger is as much a sitting duck as, say, the bed-bound woman in Sorry, Wrong Number. Be glad I’m not into horror or suspense.

Anyway, the woman’s story of how she came to be driving the car was a little confusing. I did learn that she now lives on the island and that the Hawaii plates would remain on the car till they expired, whereupon the car (which was definitely not the large SUV with Hawaii plates that I spotted in the hospital parking lot in September) would be reregistered in Massachusetts. Indeed, there are barges that transport motor vehicles between Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast; a quick Google search just turned up the info that it costs “a little over $1,000 to ship an average-sized car” from one place to the other. In other words, this is not something one is likely to do often or lightly.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
This entry was posted in license plates and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to November License Plate Report

  1. Jennie says:

    Hawaii! Now, that would make me tap on her car window, too. And yes, it could be the makings for a good movie about strangers on a ferry. Oooo!


  2. What a great story! I love the mention of setting a story on a freight boat by the way 🙂


  3. Dennis Shanley says:

    So, when she brought her car to the mainland on a barge she was just another islander ferrying her car. Thinking about it, if I was moving from Hawaii to Martha’s Vineyard I might also loathe to give up my trusty wheels, especially if packed full of household treasures for an unknown vehicle purchased in Los Angelis. It makes the whole thing kind of symmetrical, a boat ride on both ends. Thinking further, I do wonder why she chose to make the move in Decemberrrr.


  4. I am thinking the woman from Hawaii should be glad you are not a writer of Horror or suspense. But then, perhaps she is just happy to be a little farther away from nuclear targeting, and writers in general are much smaller potatoes…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.