Sunday, June 22, 2014

Yield, Merge, Other Random Directives

I fancy a good sign. I mean, on the literal SIGN tip (hanging above a store front, a nice visual taste of the potential goodness inside) I love strong graphics, a well executed font, a fine color palette, cool names, good grammar. A good sense of humor, if available* Out in the physical world, a business sign, naturally, is limited to its name (plus, possibly a motto), though once you get to billboard level, you can span your thoughts out a bit, letting people know that "Jesus is the ONLY way to God" or, more to my taste, as one Canadian board suggested (white letters, black background, two words): "Try God." That seemed reasonable enough: why not try? And then we sped past, on a return trip from Buffalo to Detroit.

{*Rarely includes punning hair salons.} 

On the mundane side of life**, I also enjoy encountering small dashed off notes from others, brief random scraps -- and will happily suspend disbelief to read them as signs from the universe. Passive signs, active signs? The former is more probable if either is likely. Will I make important decisions based on a favorable seeming indicator? No, no... but really it is the exercise of observation that is key here. And to clarify right now, I am thinking of actual brief written communications, as opposed to randomly occurring acts which carry whispers of mysticism...a spontaneously combusting bush, or a three-bunny run***. So, I am perhaps s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g terms out of a sad need to blather. Either way, behold a few recent favorites:

{**It's a big side.
***in which one runs past not ONE, not TWO, but THREE rabbits in separate front yards in the predawn hours! Obviously this bestows good luck upon the running observer and is a clear indicator of a fine day to come. Rest assured.}

Type: Personal
Purpose: Extending help / control in absentia

Birthday present note from Mom
I love explanatory package notes from my Mom. My repeated favorite is the following post-it, which is reserved for the occasion mailings -- a birthday or holiday package, wherein gifts are carefully packaged in the same space as utilitarian items like dish washing gloves of toothpaste. Post-it on latter items: THIS IS NOT A PRESENT. Let there be no misunderstanding here! Lest the dish washing gloves are tempted to get uppity, this explanation draws the line in the sand. No ribbons for you. But you, recipient: You have special things coming in this box, as well. Don't dismay over the plebian dental cleaner.
In this case, I saw the box note. Hard to miss, as this wrapper exhibits liberal tape usage under all circumstances. However, had I lost my way, the other side had a nice reinforcing message. Curious about the contents, aren't you? I certainly was. It was a lovely, delicate Summer sweater, nestled in tissue paper. I did not see that the unveiling would have been ruined with wrongful box opening, but that just may indicate my own lazy observation.

Type: Personal
Purpose: Providing Context/ control in absentia

"No pitcher"
I recently went to the Potters' Guild sale and was mooning over the work of a favorite ceramicist, Brigitte Lang. I visit her work more than buy it, so I did my usually hovering thing. A handful of  whimsical looking pitcher-type pieces drew me in, as did their emphatic labels: "No pitcher / Vase!"
The visual of bouquets taking on a slanted, asymmetric shape was interesting and I wondered whether that fed into Lang's decision to make the spout outsized.

"Ohhhh, yes. Those were the first spouts I did, but they do not pour well. I did not want people to be disappointed!"

Lovely work, all the same.

Vase (yes, vase) also newer Lang design, flowers courtesy Javier
Type: Public, Religious
Purpose: Community management. Heaven-sending, devil banishment

Javier and I saw this sign in Bay City, during a spiffing bed-and-breakfast weekend (Webster House, love it, love it, if I post pictures will supply link). As a non-exercising heathen, I was simultaneously amused and shamed by lack of (physical) exercise. This was moments before the surprise sighting of Confederate flags lining a few front yards (Javier,"WOW, I feel welcomed!").

Type: Public
Purpose: Post-meal mystification. Pay-the-bill prompt, passing "in bed" heh heh heh reactions.
If you happen to be with Javier, the fortune cookie may spur him to say something along the lines of, "You know the fortune cookie isn't even Chinese, it's Japanese. Someone brought fortune cookies to native Chinese people and they were completely confused, like "pfeh, who would put paper in a cookie?" I assume that reaction was followed by, "...wait.This isn't a *FORTUNE*~~"  I think I saved this fortune b/c it feels ominous. I'm only what's left?  I remember as a teenager thinking about how much we define ourselves in opposition to societal forces (or parents or governing structure or what have you), but in this cookie's Venn diagram, there's no overlap between myself and the rest of humanity? Is this a poor translation of something more useful, or is it possible some actually subscribe? Very odd.

Fascinating fortune cookie research here.

Type: PSA
Purpose: Confidence inspiring. Balm to human suffering
Secondary: Reducing panic in elevators, with small, calming light
New York, New York
Featured in the bank of elevators in the stately Wyndham New York Hotel, this button cheered me each day of my short stay in the NYC (Auto Show). While I understand that the message only applies when lit up, its potential was still bolstering. Please keep in mind, in the midst of your darkest hour, this little white button may suddenly spring to life! You may not realize, and you may not feel it, and true, you may never see that lit-up button* but HELP IS ON THE WAY.   

*Serious design flaw. Can only be viewed inside the elevator. They should have thought that through.