Sunday, July 24, 2005

Contiguous Thoughts

Shelley, an old family friend, came to visit this weekend. I'm the easternmost stop on her crosscountry vacation that started out in Cali where she's been living. Not long into her trip, at a random rest stop along Rte 80, she noticed a Hawaii license plate. Shortly thereafter, some folks from Alaska passed her on the right (those silly Alaskans!)--and at that point, Shelley realized, she had no choice. She had to play the license plate game. By now, she's scored all but two states: Louisiana and South Dakota. Apparently Louisianans don't get out much, and there probably aren't enough people living in SD to spare for travel during the corn season. I was thinking about how difficult it usually is to find those pesky Alaska and Hawaii plates...wouldn't it be neat to start a website where people from A & H (and Puerto Rico) could log in while traveling to let license plate game players all over the contiguous 48 know where they are? And speaking of "the contiguous forty-eight states": is this word ever used for anything besides describing the USA sans Hawaii and Alaska? If so, is it really necessary to have a whole word devoted to such a rarely utilized concept? Why not just say "the continuous 48"? Or, let's start using contiguous more often. It's quite a nice word, really--a bit more highbrow than continuous, so speakers can feel more literate; but still close enough sounding to continuous that your average joe will understand what you're saying even if he doesn't know the word. It's a win-win word.

2 Comments:

At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shelley is hardly an "OLD" family friend, merely middle-aged. Also, Boothbay Harbor, ME is further east than New Haven. But more to the point. It seems to me that medical people could have an obvious use for the word "contiguous" which, by the by, is not really synonymous with continuous. When performing transplant surgery, the organs remaining in the body would be contiguous, while the one sitting in the bowl at the side of the bed would not be.
Shelley

 
At 9:09 PM, Blogger Fictioneer said...

I LOVE this Shelley character! What she said.

 

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