Road Signs


I like those memes that have silly road signs from around the world – the ones with warnings about falling moose or rising damp. I look out for them constantly here in Perth but rarely see any that Facebook-worthy.

I discount spelinge errors – these can happen to the beast of us, as can auto-corrects that make a finely-tuned literary work look like a Macedonian milk-note. I actually have an affectionate memory for a Polish butcher shop that had a carefully hand-lettered sign that advertised ” smollgoods “. The fact that it did so for over 20 years is a testimony to something – probably the nervousness that people feel telling a man with a butcher knife that he is a bad speller…

Whenever I go out now, I try to take a small digital camera to record the scene. Someone said it was illegal to shoot pictures with two hands while you are simultaneously steering the car with two hands, and shifting the gears and operating the turn signal with two hands. I wasn’t so sure about this so I went and asked at the local Hindu temple. They referred me to higher authorities who said they could see no problem with it.

Singapore 2014 369

So I snap away. The concrete truck that I followed seemed to have enough signs for everyone. I took to reading them until I got frightened. They warn against drinking water or dying, or putting your hands anywhere. There are signs that look like bombs falling and signs that say they can’t see you. I think that there were probably fewer signs at Chernobyl, because it was safer than driving a concrete truck.


Nearby was someone driving by in their dental car. Normally you think of dentists as needing chairs and drills and needles to practise their profession, but these aren’t really something that you need a car for. Perhaps it was rushing emergency supplies somewhere – cotton wool rolls, or old magazines, or rifle ammunition…At least it gave the dentist a chance to advertise that you could have 12 solid hours of treatment every day – though 7:30 at night is probably not the time to go in for a scale and clean if they didn’t get a lunch break…


Of course what would a road be without a political statement. And the roads in North Perth are as political as they get. They are echoed by Fremantle but I don’t go there because I have not had my booster shots.


Here’s a sign that the 100-year old railway bridge underpass was built for carts and horses…


And another sign that the black car driver is a fool – the white Toyota was parked there hours before him.


And the sign at the top of the page? A sign that someone has been overseas and thinks it’s a good idea to import this trick here. And a sign that there are not enough cop cars on the road in the middle of the day.

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