Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Italy versus Cambridge

Via Marginal Revolution, this photo of a road sign, “Attenzione Prostitute” and the associated story about Italian culture:

And via Quote Unquote, this photo of a road sign and the associated story about New Zealand culture:

I am driving back from dropping the eight-year-old at a birthday party up in the hills towards Scotsmans Valley this afternoon and notice a sign, “Stock Crossing”, which strikes me as an emblem of how life here in the Waikato differs from life in Italy. I pull over, stop the car and start snapping with my mobile device thing. The farmer – imagine a Maori version of Gary McCormick – rolls up on his tractor and says, “What you doing, mate?” His tone of voice is not very matey.

I say guiltily, “Just photographing this road sign,” wondering if he has copyright issues, even though it looked at first glance like an official NZTA sign.

“You one of those lifestyle blockers who keep complaining?” he asks, with a bit of an edge to his voice.

“No,” I say. “It’s just that – ” and I launch into a garbled story about how in this town in Italy there is a sign that seems to warn of prostitutes crossing, and here outside Cambridge there is one that warns about cows crossing, and how it might make an amusing. . . I tail off as it occurs to me that this does not sound very convincing.

“So, why do the lifestyle blockers complain?” I ask, sympathetically. He is a lot bigger than me. “Isn’t life hard enough?”

“Tell me about it,” he says and vents for a few minutes about lifestyle-blockers who live in the country but haven’t a clue about farming. These people have issues, I gather, about how he leaves the sign up even when the stock are not, in fact, crossing. I decide that I won’t tell him that the eight-year-old is around the corner on a lifestyle block.

We return to the subject of the Treviso sign about hookers crossing, possibly. “We don’t get a lot of this in Cambridge,” I say.

“Tell me about it,” he says.


homepaddock said...

In Oamaru the sign shows penguins crossing.

Rob Hosking said...

I've seen one for ducks...can't recall where.

I want one on Bowen St for officials crossing (to the Beehive). Head down, sheaff of papers, bowed into the wind, etc etc.

Maybe next 1 April...

Stephen Stratford said...

Yes HomePaddock, I have seen that one, and when I lived in York Bay in Wellington there was a similar sign near (from memory) the tank farm at Point Howard. And some days there really were penguins crossing.

Hamish Wright said...

I loved the sign that always for some reason seem to be outside Prisons in The US - "Plase do not pick up Hitch-hikers"

sp8y said...

Outside Highfield Estate (winery) in Marlborough is a pukekos crossing sign. Usually there are a number of pukekos in the vicinity that may or may not be about to cross. I'm not sure how you tell whether a crossing manoeuvre is imminent.