Wednesday, December 19, 2007

shifting perspective

some time ago i started noticing cultural perception and the shape of the words we use in every day language. there's a lot of negativity to battle (and of course, negativity is a judgement for which i must counterstrike and be grateful: for without negativity i would not understand positivity).

anyway, so we were trying to find somewhere to park one day when i used to drive. we were in san francisco and its tiny streets and compiled signs dictated our lives for several hours. of course, this was the last time i drove in san francisco or any large city, for that matter. i won't even consider the matter any more, but that's another story all together.

what i really noticed was that there would be a sign, and the sign would say, for example, "no parking from 3-6am, tuesdays and thursdays;" another sign below it would say "no parking tuesdays" and possibly another sign would say "no parking 6-8 mondays, weds, fridays & saturdays, including holidays" and it would take me like 5 minutes to figure out if i COULD park there in the time & space i was situated.

one could surmise that if there are other cars parked in the area that it was the time of day that is okay, but there are more signs designating parts of the block from point x forward or point x backwards 200 feet, so one has to be very careful.

what i thought would be a better idea all around was to, instead of state what you may NOT do, to state what you MAY do:

No Left Turn >> Please, Turn Right.
Do Not Cross >> Cross When Safe.
Yield >> Let Others Pass
Stop >> Consider
Do Not Block >> Leave Space Open

but it doesn't stop there, of course - that was the thing that got me thinking about it. this kind of thinking is infused not just in our street signs, but in our every day cultural language.

one of my goals for the new year is to be consciously aware of the language i use and its effect on my thinking personally and thus its effects on the community in which i live.


Blogger Journeyfree said...

This is an excellent goal. Let us know if you find it challenging! I'd like to see how it goes.

December 19, 2007 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Shanny said...

It's amazing to me how the way that we phrase things can effects others. Good for you for making that a priority for yourself - as we all should.

December 20, 2007 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger lauren said...

In Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins, the character Amanda notices all the signs/bumper stickers along I-5 that say "drive defensively" and announces that the real solution should be to have them all say "drive lovingly." :-) Your post totally reminded me of that.

December 20, 2007 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger keri marion said...

i knew there was a reason i loved tom robbins so much.

December 21, 2007 at 8:34 AM  

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