Thursday, January 27, 2011
PORFLE VS. CONFUSING TRAFFIC SIGNS
I don't know about you, but my town is full of extremely confusing and sometimes downright ridiculous traffic signs. It's gotten to the point where I'm afraid to try and go anywhere in my car. I don't know how anybody ever gets anywhere with all of these stupid signs full of conflicting or confusing directives that seem as though they're designed to drive me totally insane.
Take, for example, these "STOP" signs that you see everywhere. Just last week I gaily hopped into my car, happily looking forward to a nice trip to EZ Mart to buy some of those really sugary donut sticks that taste so good with milk. But before I've even gone half a block, I run into a "STOP" sign. Dutifully, I stop the car like I'm supposed to and wait. A minute goes by, then two. Nothing happens. I must have sat there at that intersection for two friggin' hours waiting for that stupid "STOP" sign to change to "GO." But noooo, it was stuck on "STOP." Doesn't the city hire people to go around and check up on these things? And I know I'm not the only one who was miffed, because there was a long line of people behind me, honking their horns in frustration. I finally just turned around and went home. No delicious, sugary donut sticks for me that night, darn it...and all because of some stupid sign.
Well, yesterday I hopped into my car again, this time not quite as gaily as before due to my earlier traumatic experience, and headed out in the other direction because that's where Dog Food City is. They have this new brand of dog food there called "Dog Food" that's a lot cheaper than the name brands, and my dog seems to like it pretty well after it's been sitting in her bowl for about three days. Anyway, there's no stupid "STOP" sign at the other end of the block, thank goodness, but there is a big, yellow "YIELD" sign.
Okay, I've seen enough King Arthur movies to know what that means, so I stopped and got out of the car and held my hands up to show that I wasn't holding a sword or a lance or anything. "I yield to thee!" I cried loudly to whomever could hear me. Mrs. Wilson was out watering her lawn across the street and gave me a funny look, but she's always been a bit "off" so I blithely ignored her. I don't know if there are still knights like in the King Arthur days, especially since I never see any hanging around the "YIELD" sign, but there must be somebody hiding somewhere, keeping watch. So after I figure I've yielded to them long enough, I get back in the car and drive away. It's a little scary, but so far nobody's tried to challenge me to a joust or anything, so I guess I'm doing it right.
Whoever designs some of these stupid signs must be off his rocker, in my opinion. One day I was driving along and passed a sign that said "NO U TURN." Okay--text speak is irritating enough when it's used online, but on an official traffic sign? You'd expect the city to hire people who can spell entire words, and speak proper English no less, to make these things up. So now I'm wondering: do they assume that I'm going straight and want me to turn? As in, "No! You turn!" Or is this an inarticulate way of saying "You can't turn"? I almost broadsided a turnip truck trying to figure the damn thing out.
I finally decided the sign was telling me I couldn't turn, so I ended up driving straight to Fort Worth, which is, like, almost two-hundred miles away on the Interstate. And wouldn't you know it--as soon as I got there, I came right up to another friggin' "STOP" sign. Well, long story short, I sat there for another two or three hours with a whole bunch of other people behind me honking their horns at that damn sign until the police came and towed my car away. I ended up taking a bus back home, which ate up all my shopping money, and by the time I got there Dog Food City was closed anyway.
Some signs are just downright insensitive and mean. There's an elementary school a couple of blocks from my house, and I guess it's where they stick the not-so-bright kids in town because right out on the street next to the playground there's a sign that says "SLOW CHILDREN AT PLAY." I just don't understand why the city would find it necessary to announce this to anyone who happens to drive by. Those poor little kids deserve to be judged the same as anyone else, without some big sign telling everybody how "slow" they are.
Another sign that I find equally offensive is the one right before you get to my friend Bill's house. Now, Bill may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, and in fact he's a little flaky at times. But I certainly don't see why the city in all its supposed wisdom felt compelled to stick a sign on the way to his house that says, in big, black letters, "DIP AHEAD." Who decides these things anyway? The mayor? Some committee of self-appointed "dip assessors"? And to think this is what's being done with our tax dollars these days. I told Bill he ought to move, but he said they'd probably just move the sign, which is just about right.
The one that bothers me the most, though, and infringes on my civil rights more egregiously than any other, is that idiotic "NO PARKING ANY TIME" sign. You'd think that by now I would know better and avoid it, but every once in awhile I forget and pass right by it without thinking. So for the rest of the day, or at least as long as my gas holds out, I have to just keep driving around. At least I can go through the drive-thru at Jack-In-The-Box and get something to eat, since this doesn't really qualify as "parking", but the rest of the time I have to stay mobile in order to avoid getting a ticket.
If I time it right, I run out of gas close to my house so I don't have to push my car very far to get it back into my driveway. But I just don't see what good it does the city or anyone else for me to have to go through this whole pointless ordeal in the first place. The last time I was pushing my car home a cop drove by real slow, obviously on the prowl for parking offenders, but before he could say anything I screamed, "I'm not parking! I'M NOT PARKING!" He kept on going but he gave me this weird look all the same, like I was nuts or something. They're all in this together, the dirty rats. And how the hell did he know that I drove by that stupid sign anyway? It's creepy.
Oh yeah, and just today I got pulled over for going down a street that had a "ONE WAY" sign on it. Well, duh...I was only going one way. But this clueless cop couldn't seem to get that through his thick skull, so he gave me a ticket. And when I started to turn around and go the other way, he screamed, "NO U TURN!" I yelled back, "OKAY, I'M TURNING, I'M TURNING!" The big doofus must've chased me all over town after that with his lights flashing and his siren going full blast. I would've stopped, too, but I passed by that damn "NO PARKING ANY TIME" sign again and I didn't want to get another ticket.
Luckily, he ran out of gas before I did, so after I got done pushing my car back home, I called the police department to register a complaint of "police harrassment", and they told me to stay right where I am until they send someone out to my house. I'm waiting for them right now, and when they get here, I'm gonna give them a piece of my mind but good. So for now, anyway, it looks like I win, ha ha.
(originally posted at Andersonvision.com)