Sunday, February 28, 2010

Keep your distance, Drive with consideration

there's the road sign that I pass every day on my walk into school... It's a huge, unfriendly digital monstrosity, looks like something that was meant to be temporary, but accidentally got made permanent. I don't usually pay much attention to it for a couple reasons: a) it's a road sign and I am walking and b) my head is usually down under a hat or hood depending on the type of inevitable precipitation we are having that day.

I was walking past it last week, very into the 'This American Life' podcast (which is AMAZING, download it immediately), and as I walked past, the sign changed, and the movement caught my attention. It said 'KEEP YOUR DISTANCE' all caps, all orange pixels. I was immediately offended by this sign. I thought to myself, well, that was quite rude. I suppose I could've taken this to be a warning, but for whatever reason I took it as a criticism. I like to think of myself as a pretty easy going, genuine person, but I realize that this move has been difficult and probably hasn't done wonders for my openness, but for the sign, the huge sign, to point it out was just unnecessary! And to do it in public no less! I am trying to be here, to do this thing... move to a new country, go to school, pay attention to the new culture, the new food, the new social life, all the while maintaining some sense of normalcy with my husband and dog. And this sign had to point out that I am in fact, keeping my distance. Well, SIGN, I can't do it all, can I?? I thought.

The sign then changed and added 'DRIVE WITH CONSIDERATION' on the next line. I felt a little better. I looked around to see if the passing cars noticed that I was doing my best and I wasn't a complete jerk.

I have been thinking about this soothsaying sign for a while now. I don't know why it got to me. I suppose it's a reminder that I need to be open, ready and willing to participate. That I do need to have drive, while simultaneously being considerate and humble, and most importantly, to pay attention.


  1. One of my favorite things about Brittan is the signs. Interesting that this one should trigger such introspection. I think it's the slight twist on the ordinary that catches our attention and makes us think about what the message means to the moment, and perhaps to life.
    Mind the gap....hmmm.
    Keep your arms wide open Mike and Sarah, but watch your step!

  2. I completely know where you are coming from. I get offended by the 'Keep off the grass' and 'No Ball Games' signs that seems to be near most nice open grassy areas. Sadly I find the 'No Ball Games' signs in many 'deprived' areas in Aberdeen and it makes me wonder if the kids would be less likely to 'get into trouble' if they were only allowed on the grass. Check this out:

  3. Awesome reflection, very thought-provoking.