Sunday, September 09, 2012

My favorite street signs

By no means is this a comprehensive list. I certainly don't have photos of all my favorite street signs. I deeply regret not taking a picture of the signs along the highway in Syria that said, in English, "Please Make Light Speed" (which is actually a roughly correct, if overly literal, translation from the Arabic for "Reduce Speed").

In Syria, we also used to giggle at the many, many different English spellings of Syrian towns and villages on directional signs. My favorite was Homs (spelled properly like so). You could just picture the highway sign assembly guy, puzzling over the letters he'd received: H O M S. And then, because Arabic isn't as picky about vowels as English, sounding out some possibilities: "Homs...Hmos..." We saw HMOS on the signs plenty often.

Very close to my home here in Sharjah, we have this gem, which is juuuust on the quaint side of offensive.

Straight-up offensive is the sign on Airport Road directing drivers to (something like) "Home for Old Folks." Hahahahahahahaha.

My most recent favorite is this one, at a construction area here on campus:
Ahh, "Labor At Work." Doesn't it just make you smile? Just as with HMOS, I love to imagine the thinking behind this. Perhaps they meant "Laborer" at work but the -er didn't come through strongly enough over the phone, or between accents, or however the instructions were delivered. And why didn't they just say "Men At Work"? I know you can't do that in the US anymore, but it's certainly true about construction sites in this country. In any case, it's a very stilted phrasing. Or is it a command? "Labor at work!!!" It's so open to interpretation. I love it.

4 comments:

Suzanne Bubnash said...

I always know where I am when passing the sign for the Handicapped Club. You should check out the place sometime.

There used to be a sign on the Marquam Bridge approach here in PDX that said "Men Below. Please Don't Throw." ???????

And on Bethany Blvd., when it used to be 158th and lined with ditches on both sides (which it still is in places), was a sign "Abrupt Edge." The edge was so abrupt that the sign was tipped over into the ditch. We laughed at that one every day.

Kathy Haynie said...

When we drive to Mount Hood to hike and play, our route takes us through the small town of "Boring" (named for a former resident's last name, not for the qualities of the residents). So, on our way home, we always take the turnoff from the main highway that is labeled "Boring / Oregon City." Then we tell dumb jokes about living in "boring Oregon City" for the next few minutes.

Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

My children always feel the need to act bored, or pretend they are asleep, when we go through Boring. Lol

Out here (Brightwood) we have several fun groupings of signs. On a back road, in this order, we have a deer crossing sign, a duck crossing sign, a tractor crossing sign, and a ghost crossing sign. The ghost crossing is not an official ODOT sign, but the tractor crossing sign is. On the twisty, turny, forest lined road, the ghost sign seems much more appropriate than the tractors. Once we drove the entire 15 miles of the road, and there is not a single farm on it.

We also have a semi-gated 65+ community, that does not allow children, pets, motorcycles or motor homes, from home owners or guests, (there is a gate but I have never seen it closed) that has a number of signs as you go in the gates. The first is a sign in front of a turn out that says "Motorcycle Parking," followed closely by a sign with a motorcycle with a slash through it and the words "No turnarounds," after the last place you could potentially turn around. About 500 meters later you have the " Slow children" sign, followed by a sign showing an adult and child holding hands while crossing the street, during a stretch of road with no cross streets or paths on either side. The last sign, which is right before a culdesac (sp?) at the end of the street says "No golf carts allowed." I am unsure which area is supposed to be golf cart free since one of the houses beyond the sign has one, and there are five or sick others that I have seen parked at a variety of houses and the club house area.

Melody said...

On the way to the Sacramento Temple is a Rattlesnake Crossing sign. Also, on some of the not quite so frequented highways in Nevada, there are some Alien Crossing signs.

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