28 June 2007

Dangerous Curve Ahead

I once got asked in a bar, "Hey, what's your sign?" Not kidding. I really did. I think he thought that it was so dorky it had to be cute, the same way pocket protectors were once in, or bell bottoms. (Why is that, anyway? I lived through the hideous dress code that was the 70s once; I have no desire to repeat it.)

Anyway, scarcely believing my ears, I stopped whatever I was writing, peered at him over the tops of my glasses, and said (with a completely straight face, mind you), "Do not enter."

Somewhere back behind the bar, there was a tremendous crash and a strangled yelp as my husband, who in a lull between tables was helping the bartender change a keg, tried not to bust a gut.

Other answers we came up with after hours, slinging back Yeunglings as fast as we could pour them, included U-Turn, Slow Children at Play, and (my husband's favourite), Speed Hump Ahead.

There is a plethora of amusing signage out there. Most DOT workers don't realise how funny they are (or maybe they do, and have just been waiting for someone to appreciate it). How about the two signs outside my local Whole Foods that share a signpost? The top one says "No Stopping or Standing." The bottom one says--you guessed it--"Stop." Or the sign in Peekskill that points right towards 202/35, right next to the One-Way arrow pointing left? Or the existentially helpful signs in parts of Iowa: "Gusty Winds May Exist." Yes, they may....but they may not.

Along the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut are carefully spaced warning signs: Caution. Depressed Storm Drains. I guess they're afraid of the storm drains throwing themselves under the wheels of a passing automobile in their despair. Nearby, in Westchester County, is a sign that contradicts itself. "White Plains / No White Plains" it announces. Well, yes. Either it is, or it isn't. That's the way it is with most of the exits on that particular stretch of 287. If you turn one way off them, you get to White Plains (whether you want to or not). If you turn the other way, you don't. Actually, this isn't always true. Sometimes there's no avoiding White Plains, no matter how hard you try. And believe me, I've tried.

But perhaps the most ominous example of stupid signage I've encountered is near the Big Dig in Boston. It is meant to indicate an underground bypass tunnel to Boston's North End neighbourhood. Grossly underpunctuated, it states "Tunnel No End".

And they think I'm going to want to drive into that thing??


Pacian said...

Have you ever seen that movie by M. Night Shyamalan - what's it called?

(In the UK we have signs that say "Humps next 0.5 miles". Any good?)

raymond pert said...

This is terrific and is just how the Sunday Scribbling this week should be addressed. Very, very enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

India is THE country for funny signs! All in such colourful languages.

Enjoyrd this post!

Anonymous said...

Very enjoyable - thanks!


Betty Carlson said...

I like this one in France: "For your security, experimental road marking ahead."

Also "Toutes directions" pointing one way and "Autres directions" pointing the other way is pretty hilarious.

Karen Travels said...

I absolutely love this take on the prompt. Very nice.

I am a lover of road signs myself. Once in Idaho I noticed the "Watch for Stock" signs. Then I noticed the "Watch for Rock". Did they mean watch for ROCKS? Or am I watching for the Rock, the actor? Or maybe just one big humongous rock to land on my car?


Anonymous said...

I love it - do not enter - I will be passing that one on.
Thanks for the big Sunday morning smile.

Shelby said...

this one made me smile :)


Deirdre said...

Road signs always make me laugh. I have to wonder what the writers were thinking.

Good take on the prompt.

Unknown said...

Great take on the prompt! Every so often I'll get an email that shows inadvertently (or not?) funny road signs.

megan said...

Fun post...fun signs...fun original thinking!

Anonymous said...

I live in Peekskill and at first was very confused by the 202/35 sign. I'm not so hot when it comes to directions, so this one was a real challenge.

On the way up to Syracuse, here's a sign that says "Future 86." Now there's a band by that name.

Found you through dooce.com.

teabird said...

I've been telling people about "depressed storm drains" for years - it is, by far, my favorite road sign. Second is a sign in Boston that features two arrows, one pointing east, one pointing west, but lacking any instructions about which goes to what.

This isn't a road sign, but I like it anyway: In Barnes & Noble, one of the displays is labeleed "New history."