Signs.  Labels.  Symbols.  Without them we’d be lost.  Wouldn’t know how fast or slow to go.  Which way to turn.  When to take out the tv dinner.  Where to get off the train.  How much to pay.  What to DO.

I found the signs in England to be very comforting.  Like some kindly invisible guide quietly leading, always looking after me.  At the crosswalks there are markings painted on the pavement urging pedestrians to “Look Left,” “Look Right,” or “Look Both Ways.”  It’s a very thoughtful reminder, especially since I’m from the U.S. so I was always looking the wrong way.

And there are no “Exits” here.  Instead, when you want to leave a place, you look for the big signs with arrows that guide you to the “Way Out.”  In the grocery stores, you don’t look for Dawn, or Ivory, or Dove.  Sure, they have their brand names too.  But they also have “Washing Up Liquid.”  Lovely.

I kept noticing this over and over – so many things stripped down to their simplest meanings.  It made everything feel very clear and clean.  Comforting.  And it makes me wonder.  If all things were that way – if tabloids were called “30 pages of mostly unsubstantiated stories about various people you don’t really know” – if instead of Kool or Camel, cigarettes were called “compressed sticks of tobacco and toxins” – maybe we’d think more before we buy, before we open our mouths, before we DO.

So look both ways on your way out to buy the washing up liquid.

 


Zell
09/19/2013 5:59am

Haha! Love it!

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Vicki
09/19/2013 8:39am

lol... I was out with my friend Andre in Manhattan last night and got the most surreal feeling. Wait a minute, wasn't I just in London a couple weeks ago? :) You back in Indiana now?

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