The year was off to a worse-than-mediocre start: the month was half over and not only was I not even up to 10, I was still missing three of the six New England states. Clearly I needed to get out more.
So I did. Yes, this did involve a swing through the M.V. Hospital parking lot, particularly the little unpaved section next to Eastville Ave.: I spotted South Carolina, Colorado, and Oregon there for sure, but none of these are especially rare. Most of the rest, including the rest of New England, I saw on the road.
The huge find was Oklahoma in downtown Oak Bluffs, near the police station. Often enough Oklahoma shows up on the back of a U-Haul or other long-distance truck that may have only the most peripheral connection with the state. In 2020 I never saw Oklahoma at all. Michigan is usually the last of the Upper Midwest states to show up, but not this year.
Nineteen is a fairly respectable showing. I like to get half, or close to half, of the states in January, but a glance at the 2021 map shows that #19 (Louisiana) didn’t show up until February. Covid-19 probably had something to do with it, because January 2020, before Covid started affecting travel and everything else in a big way, yielded a bumper haul of 25.
For the record: On the map at the end of January 2022, spotted in this order, are Massachusetts, Florida, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, California, New Jersey, Arizona, Virginia, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Colorado, Oregon, and Oklahoma.
Also for the record: I’m doing this year’s map in shades of blue. 2022 is a decisive year for U.S. democracy. I’m sick of pundits talking as if the Republicans taking back one or both houses of Congress is not only possible but close to inevitable. So I’m doing my bit to turn the U.S. map as blue as I can.