18 February, 2009

It's a sign of something, but what?

A year or two ago, I traveled with a Romanian comrade back to the US. In touring major cities like New York and Washington, he commented on the sheer number of signs lining the streets. Directives for speed, parking, direction, litter, wipers, lights, turns, limits... his mind boggled. "Do you Americans need signs to tell you every little thing?" he asked. I couldn't argue. There are a few reasons why this is true; in America the law system is clogged to a standstill with stupidity (Google "frivolous lawsuits"), so the result is to attempt to pre-emptively spell everything out beforehand with signs to take the guesswork out of what should be done... and to minimize the lawsuits from idiots who drive their cars into the river because there wasn't a sign telling them NOT to. This couples well with the secondary but more historical reason for these signs: Americans just like being told what to do. We're too lazy to think for ourselves, or else we don't want to accept the responsibility of what might happen if what we think for ourselves turns out to be wrong. So we've empowered our government to think for us, and common sense is now attempted through legislation. But I digress.

The point is, with the million or so signs in each city block of any US metropolis, they are at least organized and displayed in a clear manner. Not so in Bucharest! While driving in Piata Victoriei, my attention was called to this amusing foul-up:

Leave it to these guys to screw up the display of not hundreds, not dozens, but just TWO signs. One is immediately in front of the other, the photo is not a trick of perspective. There is maybe half a meter between the signs. The one in front shows neighborhoods, the one in back shows highway directions. If you were not already familiar with the city, which sign do you think would be more important to you?

Ahh, forget it, I'll get an ulcer with this kind of stuff. Let's go read about those great street cleaning folks again.

1 comment:

  1. Here is another one: http://tinyurl.com/dhotbe

    They actually posted this one in a local publication. I've just learned to ignore them and rely on my trusty GPS ;-). I've learned, especially before I got it, that they just lead you to the middle of nowhere, quick!


Comments which make me look good will be posted. Hey, if you don't like it, get your own blog!