Tag Archives: following directions

Driving directions


Yes, these are ads. And not even new ads, but they are new to me. The first reminds me of an overly prescriptive, talkative GPS unit:


and this one reminds me of times when the GPS unit gets confused and says, essentially, “I give up; you are on your own;”


But GPS-enabled talking directions, while interesting, have limits. Not so with GPS-enabled written directions. Say you want to travel from Seattle, Washington, to Yokosuka, Japan. One of my coworkers pointed out that this can be very entertaining. Here is Google’s suggestion:


Seems pretty reasonable except — why is it 34 days? Travel down Washington 99 N to — what? Kayak across the Pacific to Hawaii?

So once in Hawaii we travel across Oahu and continue to the shore,


and then do some more kayaking before emerging in Japan near Choshi, and take various highways, tollways and such,


and at Step 52 we reach Route 16, the main highway for the Miura peninsula. It all makes sense.

Except, maybe, for the kayaking.

Feeding is now litter


This sign, posted on a San Diego, California, trolley stop, equates feeding birds with litter. If feeding is litter, this suggests you probably don’t want to try eating a snack on the trolley, or breast feeding an infant. Photo taken with an iPhone.


Quiet stud are


This Yoda-like sign suggests that studs are quiet.

Yet in an informal sampling of every woman I know, they claim this is not true. Unless, of course, the stud is asked a question requiring an answer, in which case absolute silence is all but guaranteed.

Taken in the Geisel Library, University of California San Diego.


Road to nowhere


Erewhon, an 1872 novel by Samuel Butler, is a satire of Victorian English society. The title is an anagram of the word “nowhere,” written backwards with two transposed letters.

Which may not seem to have anything to do with this photo, taken with an iPhone in Arlington, Virginia. Not too far from the Pentagon, it shows a crosswalk to — nowhere.


Be sure and read the fine print

Emergency signage should be clear, concise and to the point.

Here is a stellar example, the Fire Evacuation Plan for a hotel near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Only the top third of the sign has anything to do with fire evacuation; the rest of the plan is devoted to:

  • Safety and security
  • Your vehicle
  • Traveling
  • Guest room security
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • Keys
  • Reporting [suspicious activity]
  • Recreational activity
  • Room rates
  • Check out times
  • And the ever popular Hotel Laws of the state of Washington.

Photo taken with an iPhone.