Thursday, February 22, 2007

Signs of the Times


They're everywhere.

I sometimes think they've learned to breed. Late at night, when no one is awake to see them. Especially political signs.

Some signs are helpful and informative. Others are just confusing.

Take today for example:

I went to Arby's for lunch. A friendly sign on the window informed me of a good deal. Any four pictured items for only five bucks. I got that. Two Arby's Cheddar Melts, a soda, and a cherry turnover. Yum!

When I paid, a small sign on the cash register informed me that debit and credit cards were accepted. I scanned the logos it showed and my card type was there. That sign saved me precious seconds as I no longer had to ask the cashier if I could pay with my Visa card.

The beverage station was emblazoned with a plethora of helpful signs: signs denoting which beverage dispensed from which nozzle, signs which kept me from mistaking ketchup from horse radish, signs which informed me that the big, round plastic things were "Large Lids" while the smaller ones were indeed "Small Lids", and even one that made sure I knew the long, thin, tubular, paper-wrapped objects were "Straws". That was a relief, because I was thinking they might be miniature blowguns, wrapped for my sanitary pleasure. The napkins had no signs, but I think those silver and black napkin holders are a universal sign for "Here There Be Napkins" anyhow.

I ignored most of the signs on my food wrappers as I ate. I didn't wish to be distracted from my epicurean delight by amusing slogans and funny cartoon characters. It was a tasty meal.

Then things went downhill.

Cups Only?I collected my refuse and located what appeared to be a standard fast-food restaurant waste receptacle. It had the brackets on top to stack dirty trays. It had the flap to shove the meal discards through. But the sign on it confused me.

It appeared that only cups could be thrown away. I carefully looked around and noticed several other receptacles, all marked with the same picture. I didn't know what to do.

Being very careful, I removed my cup, still filled with ice, and nudged it through the hanging flap. It landed inside with a satisfying "whumph" and tinkle of ice. I debated on slipping the other refuse though, but was worried an employee would yell at me for not obeying the clearly marked sign. So I placed the trash laden tray on top of the receptacle and walked away.

Man, Woman, Hemmeroid Sufferer?It was then I realized all the soda I had drunk was ready to be released into the wild. A set of doors were along the side of a short hallway. A blue sign was between the two doors. I moved down the corridor to study the sign.

The left hand door was closest to the stylized figure in the skirt. The right hand door was closer to the figure in pants. Or maybe it was naked. Who can tell with stick figures? I wasn't sure about the third symbol. I thought maybe it was for those who didn't make it to the restrooms and have filled their pants on accident. Or, maybe for severe hemorrhoid sufferers.

I was wearing pants against the cool weather, so decided the right side door must be for me. I just hoped I didn't run into anyone with loaded pants, like the third image, in there.

The door was locked when I tried it. I couldn't wait. I looked around, and seeing no one watching, I quickly slipped into the left side door, locking it behind me. I took care of business as fast as possible. It was then I noticed a folding, yellow sign standing in the corner.

It read "Caution! WET FLOOR".

I sighed deeply because I had just finished going and had already flushed. But, not wanting to get in trouble for disobeying that sign, and already being in the skirt bathroom with pants on, I turned the sink tap on and threw a few cupped handfuls of water onto the floor in front of the sign. I hoped that would be enough.

Satisfied, I turned around to clean my hands when a sign posted on the mirror caught my eye.

It read "Employees MUST Wash Hands Before Leaving Restroom".

So I waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

After fifteen minutes I started to think no employees were coming to wash my hands and I'd be trapped in the restroom for ever!

Finally, I gave up. I'd already disobeyed one sign by using this restroom, what would it matter if I washed my own hands and left? I'd sneak out, of course. I didn't want to get caught.

I made it outside and to my car without an employee yelling after me, or police tackling me to the ground. I quickly pulled out of the parking lot and onto the highway. Safe, at last.

Or so I thought.

I looked in my rear view mirror and noticed a Sheriff's car cruising behind me. His lights weren't on, and no siren was warbling, but I got nervous.

It was then I realized I still a wad of paper toweling from the restaurant's bathroom! If he pulled me over, it could be used as evidence of my failure to obey those signs!!!

I began to panic. I didn't want to hide the incriminating paper towels in my car. What if they searched it? I could eat it ... no, it was full of icky germs. What to do? What to DO?

It was then my prayers were answered.

Another sign along the grassy shoulder told me what to do.

I rolled down my passenger window and chucked the damning evidence right out!

Just then the police cruiser flickered its lights and bleeped the siren at me.

Whew! I was safe. I had gotten rid of the evidence of my restroom transgressions in time!

Several minutes later, I sat disconsolately in my car, staring at $300 citation the firm, but nice, officer had written me for throwing the paper out of my car. I didn't argue with him about it. I was just glad I wasn't in worse trouble over those signs back at Arby's.

I'm thinking of contesting the ticket in court, though.

I mean, the sign I passed did say "Fine for Littering".


Bruiser said...

There has been a good amount of humorous blogging going on today, but that there was some real funny reading!

Kodiak said...

I should have seen this one coming, but I fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Doug E. Pudge said...

You know, I am thinking that you might just have a little too much time on your hands. B4T