There was a time when adults needed to commit only a handful of numbers to memory for instant, and frequent, recall. A Social Security number. A few telephone numbers. Maybe a credit card account.
Now, of course, it's necessary to remember home, office and cell phone numbers for friends and relatives, passwords for computers and online bank accounts, and access codes to accomplish any number of other indispensable activities.
Add your vehicle's license plate number to that list. Yes, that combination of numbers and letters that most adults needed to recall only when checking into a hotel that provided a free place to park.
Drivers parking in parts of Pittsburgh where new pay stations are in service will need to know their plate numbers. After parking, drivers must enter their number and then pay in advance for a specific period of time. The 560 new devices allow meter readers to determine if cars are paid up simply by scanning their plates. If not, their drivers get a ticket.
It is inconvenient to go to court to fight a citation, but so far it seems district justices have been forgiving of errors as people adjust to the new procedures. Let's hope that flexible attitude gives us enough of a break-in period to memorize our plate numbers.