Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sign Readers

Manchild and I seem to notice goofy stuff in the world around us. We are continuously laughing at people and things. He notices people's character traits like, how old people look when they're driving. Lower lip hanging down, head thrust forward, staring blindly.

One trait I noticed about a particular friend of mine (and I love her, I really do!)  is that she reads signs. Road signs, restaurant names, advertisements on the sides of 19 wheelers, billboards, building names, license name it - she reads them out loud. It used to really bother me until one day it struck me as funny and I've been OK with it ever since.  I introduced Manchild to her and beforehand, had warned him about the sign reading. Sure enough, when we all piled into the car and started driving, the sign reading began.

Here's an example of things we might have heard:

"Oh wow, look at that! I wonder what that is for?
Hmmmm, danger. I wonder why it's dangerous. Danger ahead. Fasten safety belts and remove dentures. Why would you remove your dentures?
Gavaar voor maak gordels vas en verwyderkunstande. Wonder what that means? Do you know why that sign is there?

                                                                                   "Wow, two cars crashing. Why are the cars crashing? Have you seen that before? Why I wonder. "

"Baghdad 89 kilometers.......look at that. There's a bomb on that sign. And a plane. And a guy with a gun. Why do they have that on there? Have you seen one of those before? It must be dangerous. Well, Baghdad is in 89 kilometers. Guess we'll find out."

"Lowe's. We have a Lowe's back home. Do you shop at Lowe's?"

 "Sheffield Forgemasters. What do you think that is? Sheffield Forgemasters. How long have they been there?"
"Chicka Latte, beautiful coffee. Would you look at that? That's really cute. Chicka Latte. Hmmm. Have you been there? I've never seen one."

Of course, I'm sort of blowing the statements way out of proportion but you get the idea. By the end of the visit, Manchild was probably digging his fingernails into the palms of his hands but he stayed nice. He and I laugh about it now, in fact on occasion, we read every sign we can see aloud, on purpose.

Maybe because I live in the city, I've become immune to all of the visual stimulation out in the big wide world. The only thing I notice is when the signs are done poorly, or the company has used an interesting font, or if the type on the sign isn't kerned correctly. I'm a type woman so it's my job to notice those kinds of things. But I must admit, I do not have the desire to read everything out loud. Heck, I don't even like to read them out loud inside of my head where only I can hear it. That's because the other voices make so dang much noise, it's hard to hear myself reading out loud. Maybe my friend is better off than I because she does read the signs and she sees everything we pass by. I on the other hand, am dreaming about where we'll end up, or looking at birds, or singing to the music on the radio, so I miss stuff she notices. Who knows. It's just a funny, endearing trait of hers that I find amazing.

Try it the next time you're out driving around. Read every sign you see out loud. Ask questions about the signs. Really run the subject into the ground. I bet you'll end up chuckling to yourself. It's actually kind of fun.

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