Sign Language

road-sign-lostUntil recently I always thought the question “What’s your sign” was a dogeared pickup line used by sleazy lounge lizards, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, entirely.  Recently, the State of Maine has been looking at all the road signs posted along the major turnpikes with an eye toward removing some of them.  It appears we are not in total compliance with the Federal Department of Signage, Posters, and Crayon Drawings.

There are currently several types and colors of signs.  The most prevalent are the green ones.  They are highway informational signs, designating routes, exits, towns or cities, streets, etc., and should be viewed as a maybe instead of a fact.  For instance, a few years ago, it was decided to change the exit numbering system from sequential to a number indicating how far up the turnpike you were.  So, for quite a while there were signs that said “Gray–Exit 12– 1 Mile”.  Shortly thereafter (in about a mile to be exact) you would see another sign that said “Gray–Exit 63” with an arrow.  Wouldn’t that mess with your mind.  Can’t you just see someone “from away” saying “Gee, Gray must be huge.  They have 51 exits.”

Then there are the blue ones, known as supplemental guide signs or “logo” signs.  They normally direct you to gas, food, and lodging locations, not to be confused with the brown signs which generally display points of interest.  Seems pretty straightforward to me, but apparently I am lacking in Signage 101.  It appears that the anointed ones think there are too many signs and that their reduction would increase their effectiveness to motorists and improve highway safety.  Still with me?

OK.  Here’s the plan.  Let’s do away with the brown signs and instead, include an “attractions” panel on the blue ones.  You know, things like historic sights, amusement parks, massage parlors, zoos, museums, tattoo shops, etc., all with logos.  So here’s my question.  Let’s assume that one or more of these signs is in a populace place that has a lot of these things.  How does it improve highway safety when the number of accidents increases because of people slowing down to try and read the damn things.

Call me cynical, but I think that highway safety was thrown in there to make the idea more palatable. That’s because, in the fine print, they plan to charge for the privilege of having your “attraction” added to a sign for three years, at $1200 a pop annually.  Probably need the revenue to fund the additional ambulances.

I for one believe that the ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ leaves a little bit to be desired.  If you happen to visit say, an amusement park the year before the signs are updated, the next time you come back to visit it again, you could end up in Quebec.  Just sayin.

I am waiting to see how all this shakes out.  Might be a buck or two to be made selling sign guide books.  Maybe I’ll call them “Signs of the Times.”  It’s worth thinking about since they would have to buy a new one every three years.

Oh, by the way, it doesn’t appear that the most popular sign is involved.  You know the one.  “Will Work For Food.  God Bless You.”

About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
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11 Responses to Sign Language

  1. quiall says:

    Brilliant observations!


  2. Starralee says:

    Oh wow, this is somethin’ else–I immediately thought of all the backed up cars or worse, accidents, as folks stopped to read all the highway/freeway literature. Guide books sound like a better deal at any price. And I totally love your final message.


  3. oldmainer says:

    Without their assistance apparently:)


  4. laurie27wsmith says:

    ‘And the sign said, long haired creepy people, need not apply, so I tucked my hair up under my hat and went into ask them why.’ I love that song! We have them in abundance here Bob, they’re more of a distraction than anything else.


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