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, http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Podcast.aspx 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.