Noticing the signs all around you;
Steve Jobs used to boast that Apple made products so intuitive that even kids could figure them out.
Walking around New York City, I’m often struck by signs indicating that people feel further explanation is required.
Sometimes signs tell you how something works. More often, they tell you how it doesn’t work. They warn you not to walk on the grass or touch the merchandise.
The signs are affixed to doors or taped to walls. They appear in windows reminding you that “Restrooms are only for customers” or taxis don’t take bills over $20.
Some are incredibly detailed, such as the sign in a local sushi place that laid out the “All You Can Eat” terms as if it were a legal contract.
I swear such signage is proliferating. And increasingly it isn’t the “No Smoking” variety, but home-crafted pleas to change behavior.
I have to admit I have a warm spot in my heart for the people who go to the trouble.
A lot of us might get irritated when someone chains a bike to the fence in front, but it takes a special kind of person to bother to respond. And then go to the effort to make a sign.
I especially love the signs that swim against the tide. Most of us are conditioned to turn off lights when we leave a room. This person wants you to ignore that impulse.
Then there are the signs that tell you not to do something that never occurred to you. It’s a reminder that there are people in the world who did think to do it.
And there are enough of them that it requires an intervention.
The most awesome hand-crafted sign I ever saw was in the hallway of a hotel in Nicaragua. It read simply: “Please Do Not Press. This is the Internet.”
It gave me pause in a way that I’m sure the writer never imagined.
**Published by Ted Merz Mar 16, 2016 **