Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bad Signs in Houston

I have to drive across Houston to get to Mass, and today I was confronted repeatedly with digital signs on the interstate with the warning, "Talk, Text, CRASH!!!"  I got so distracted thinking about these ridiculous messages, that I missed my exit and drove a couple of miles before I even realized it, just enough to make me late for Mass.  (I'm going to put up my own sign: "Read ridiculous City of Houston messages, go crazy!")  Crashing is certainly a possibility if you "talk and text" while driving, but it is by no means a given.  And probably many offenders don't even read English.  Talk about white privilege!  Next we'll have to pay some new tax to connect Google Translate to all the digital signs.  Don't ask me how they could do that.  I am not a technical person.  I still don't understand cell phones, but they work anyway.

A few months ago the signs were shrieking,  "If there's water on the road, turn around, don't drown."

It had rained all night and all day, so yeah, there was water on the road.  The road wasn't underwater; it was just wet.  Was I going to drown if I didn't turn around?  No.  Not even close.  But I could imagine some goofy person reading that sign and making an immediate u-turn into traffic.  I know that the  Houston employee who came up with that message had the best of intentions.  The city has had people drive into flooded underpasses and drown.  It is definitely a serious problem.  But why can't they just say "Use caution approaching underpasses.  Possible severe flooding."  Or something.  Good grief.  It's not that hard.

I broached this subject with my husband, venting just a little.

"Wendy, they don't write the messages for educated white women!" he proclaimed.

I burst out laughing!  He laughed too, but he insisted his explanation was correct.

"But that's not the point!" I argued.  They should communicate accurately for everybody!  I hate imprecise language!"

He looked at the skirt that I had hung up in the bathroom to dry the night before and said, "Your dress is dry."

"It's not a DRESS!  It's a SKIRT!  They're not the same thing!"

Then I ran from the room screaming with my hands over my ears.

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