March 24th, 2009


Morning Java

This morning as I was stopped at a traffic light while driving to work, the driver next to me tooted his horn at me. I glanced over, and there was a guy tipping his cardboard coffee cup to me and grinning. I was confused at first, gave him a puzzled look, and a "huh?" gesture, and he waved his cup at me some more. He was smiling and nodding, and just as I was about to roll down my window I remembered my license plate: JAVAGRL.

I gave an "ah-ha!" gesture, pointing back at my plate, then smiled and gave him a thumbs-up. He grinned and tipped his coffee cup once more, then inched his car forward so we were no longer looking through each other's windows.

I smiled to myself, amused by the interaction. Explaining the real meaning of my plate would have been too much effort, and was unnecessary anyway. The fact that it made a random stranger's morning, and that he was moved enough to communicate his pleasure with me, was good enough.

Along with being amused though, I was a bit frustrated. After all my plate isn't meant to reference coffee, it's meant to reference the programming language. It's a mistake several people have made though -- one that didn't even occur to me when I came up with the custom plate.

Along with being frustrated, I also found myself wishing I had some coffee.

I showed it to my new colleagues awhile back, and they liked it. "It's unusual to find a female nerd," one guy commented. I shrugged and smiled. It's true. I like being a geek, and I also like being unusual.

I told my coworkers that sometimes people think it means coffee, and they sympathized. "Actually," said the same guy, "I'm surprised it's available."

I laughed and pointed out: "It's not!"