Being a commercial real estate broker means logging lots of miles on our local toll roads and public highways. I often joke with my fellow brokers and clients that I am a very highly compensated taxi cab driver. Road rage comes and goes, depending on time of day, how late I will be to my next appointment, and the level of traffic and congestion before me.
I have become acutely aware of the nameless faces in the vehicles around me. Redneck truckers who dangerously cut off lanes, young mothers racing children to and from school and sporting events, with mobile phones glued to their ears, teenagers texting friends, young male professionals getting dressed for work, and young professional women steering with their knees while putting on eye shadow.
Roadways in North Texas have become a very dangerous to navigate today, with everybody busy doing everything but driving.I am no exception as I have acquired this unhealthy habit of obsessive observation that ignites my ire, boils my blood, and increases my blood pressure. Truly not a good thing for a middle-aged man of 50 years!
Recently, however, I found a new way to indulge my curiosity during the downtime of snarled traffic. And this one has a positive spin. My new preoccupation is to count the number of out-of-state license plates. This new game keeps at bay the anger that used to consume me—and no doubt has added a few of the gray hairs that I now sport.
Over the past two weeks I have counted well over 100 Okies plates, dozens of plates from Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Washington, and, surprisingly, scores of plates from both California and New York. I have even seen plates from Maine and New Hampshire, and one from as far away as Alberta, Canada.
Back in the 1980s I remember seeing a lot of plates from the rust and corn belts, primarily Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, Iowa, and Indiana.
It is truly exciting to see so much more geographic diversity in our recent economic expansion. It further underscores the reality that North Texas is in the midst of a robust boom. We are no doubt the “promised land ” of economic opportunity for many individuals who have decide to pack up and leave their home states to seek a better life here in Big D!
So the next time you’re on a freeway, toll road, or 20 cars deep at a red light, and you find yourself on the verge of an unhealthy rage or vituperative outburst, you may want to consider playing the license plate game—and remember just how lucky we are to be professionals working in a great city and great state that is proving to be the economic engine of our country!
And who knows? This new game just might help in delaying premature graying and add a few more years to your life!
Michael Wyatt is an executive director within Cushman & Wakefield of Texas Inc.’s brokerage services group. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.