Friday, April 24, 2009
Behind the License Plate
I remember having an identity crisis when I first arrived on the island. The crisis was spurred by the desire for me to vote in the Hawaii preliminaries for the 2008 election. But more specifically...it came due to a need to replace my mainland license plate with a Hawaii State one. How do voting, licenses plate, and identity crisis all tie together?
Well, the only reason why I wanted to change my plates was so that I could vote the in the Hawaii preliminaries. And perhaps in order to register to vote, I had to change my drivers license...and in order to do that I had to register my car...which entailed passing a state car inspection (a unique process to in Hawaii, btw)...which required putting on Hawaii State plates. I forget the whole shabang...but I know at one point I was like, "Man, do I really want to vote that badly this year?" The answer was...Yes!
So...I was really really sad to have to unscrew and take off my old mainland plates. I'm not kidding...I talked about the changing of the plates to so many people. It was such a sentimental moment and symbolic act of change, acceptance, and adjustment. I guess when one moves to a new place, city or country, the process of relocation forces one to consider what aspects of oneself and ones lifeways will be kept, discarded, altered or changed.
Since I arrived at HNL with only 2 suitcases in tow, I guess my car was the biggest sentimental thing I had on the island. And at the time, it was a sad moment for me to say goodbye to the one thing that so boldly represented my mainland ties--my home town state name written above the little numbers and letters that distinguished my car from all the other little Honda's out there in the world!
It's funny to look back at that moment, because now that I'm on the mainland...I hadn't even thought to change my Hawaii State plates back to my former ones. The little rainbow on the front and back of my car has become so special and meaningful to me...I don't know if I dare to take it off...just yet.