After living somewhere for a few months, you start to recognize patterns as you go about your day-to-day. From the cars parked on your block to the dogs you pass as you walk back from the Metro, it may not be every day, but certain items dance in and out of your life. Just like you, everyone else has their routines. Some of them are going to coincide with yours on a fairly regular basis. You may never speak to these people, but you grow to at the very least recognize them.
Back in Madison, among others, there was the mural covered van that would move up and down the street to avoid parking tickets.
Here in my little corner of the District, there’s the Hummer with Medusa head stickers on its rear windows and VERSACE vanity plates that parks on my block a few times a week. There’s also the scooter girl, who occasionally zips past me en route to our shared Metro stop. But the most intriguing neighborhood mainstay to me is the sedan with the vanity plate “MRSSTEW.”
Cars with vanity plates tend to fit nicely into this group, since they’re easy to both recognize and remember. Like the true high school bad boys we were, my friend Sam and I used to make fun of bad vanity plates as we walked into stores. This went on until two consecutive times we watched as people within earshot of us walking out of the stores turned and got into the very cars we’d been talking about. As not only bad boys but empathetic bad boys, we generally stopped the practice. Or at least we waited until we got into the store.
When I see things that don’t make sense to me, I generally try to chase down the thought process of the people who made those decisions and figure out why they did it. And this one’s got me puzzled. Why would someone make their license plate MRSSTEW, taking time, energy, and money to do so?
Here are my leading theories, in the order that they came to me:
1) “MRS. STEW”: She Runs a Competing, Stew-Centric Website
This is what immediately came to mind. Then I thought, “There must be something in the water on this block that leads people to start niche, simmer-related websites.” Then I thought about conspiracy theories about the fluoride in water being used for mind control. Then I went back to worrying about her stealing all my readers. I wondered if we’d be friends.
Likelihood: 4 of 5 Spoons
2) “MR. S. STEW”: He Runs a Competing Stew-Centric Website
Then I thought, “What if the first S is just an initial, he’s actually Mr. Stew?” I’ll admit that this seemed less likely at first, but then it hit me that Stuart is also a name. A name for Misters! Maybe his name is Steuart, which is why he likes stew so much. Then his license plate would mean Mr. Stuart Stew, or Mr. Stew Stew, which is a pretty good name for a stew writer/mogul.
Likelihood: 3 of 5 Spoons
3) “MRS. STEW”: She’s Married to Stuart From Theory Number 2
I bounced back to it being Mrs. Stew, because Mr. S. Stew seemed too hard for the every-man to decipher. And if you’re getting vanity plates, I think you probably want people to get what you’re trying to say, otherwise why do it? Unless it’s to make it easier to find your car in the parking lot because you own a gray Honda Civic. I respect that move a lot.
Maybe she’s married to Stuart of our last scenario, and he’s the one that drives that VERSACE Hummer from before because he made it big as a stew mogul. She’s rightly proud of her hubby. This would make her Mrs. Stew in two different, yet related ways. That certainly seems license plate worthy.
Likelihood: 2 of 5 Spoons
4) “MRS. S. TEW”: Her name is something like Sylvia Tew
This is, admittedly, the least interesting scenario. The only redeeming factor about it is that she would have become MRS. STEW by marriage, and she is not affliliated with the food stew in any way. Maybe she didn’t even realize it could be read as Mrs. Stew until she ordered the license plates. Then she goes back to the DMV to try to get it fixed like Kramer in that episode of Seinfeld where he gets the ASSMAN plates.
Now it either haunts her every time she walks up to her car or she’s grown to embrace the new moniker (much like Kramer did).
Likelihood: 4 of 5 Spoons (seems like an easy mistake to make)
5) Anagram for “MRS. WEST”: It’s actually Kim Kardashian
Maybe it’s actually Kim K. (who is married to Kanye West, hence the Mrs. West) trying not to get noticed when she’s in town (which is a lot). If this is the case, she’s a much bigger fan of word games than I’d thought. If you’re reading this, Kim, I’m always open to Anagram challenges. Just leave your cell phone number in the comments!
Likelihood: 1 of 5 Spoons, but also hard to say because I don’t keep up with the Kardashians.
What do you think? Am I way off? Do you have another, more likely theory? Let me know in the comments!