The Long Haul To Search For Signs


We believe in signs. You pass a million signs each day. They boss you around and tell you what you can and can’t do. STOP! DON’T WALK! NO TRESPASSING! EXIT HERE! USE CAUTION! And my recent favorite, from right in the middle of noisy, chaotic New York City: DON’T HONK!

Why not? I wanted to ask the sign.

Look more closely, and you’ll see there are other kinds of signs. These are signs bearing meaningful messages. Signs that tell eternal truths. Signs that seem like they’re speaking just to you, like the one we encountered on a roadside stop in California proclaiming: TRUST THE UNIVERSE!

We love signs.

We’ve come upon many noteworthy signs with our cameras lately. A few signs have transported us to another time when we see them, the relics of a bygone era. How badly I feel for the 1950s cartoon man who hasn’t worn his safety shoes! Others have intrigued us, like the SYNERGY sign that stood over a manhole on the streets of San Francisco. What synergy can be found there, somewhere underground? We couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of a woman snoozing peacefully as she propped up a sign advertising “Everything Must Go” from Borders. A sign of the times, perhaps?

Our very favorite signs are the handmade ones that deliver an unexpected gift of poetry and change the way we think about our day. In Santa Barbara, a homeless man’s sign inspired us to commit a random act of kindness. In Los Angeles, a sign in a window summarized the downside of being in love. Then there’s the line of graffiti inspired by Jack Kerouac that I pass every day on my walk to work. To me it’s a sign that there will be magic in my day— though I still haven’t managed to capture a decent photo of it.

Dozens of signs stand sentinel around the Occupy Boston protesters, who have taken over a patch of grass around the corner from where we live. We used to play with our dog on the wide expanse. Now it’s been taken over by a tent city that is dotted with signs, flags, paintings. Sometimes it seems more like an organic art installation than a protest.

The more we seek signs, the more signs we see.

Read Thom and Melissa’s LomoAmigo feature and their The Long Haul Project articles.

written by thelonghaulproject on 2011-11-09 #lifestyle #projects #the-long-haul-project


  1. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    I met a guy begging in New York who had a cardboard sign saying "Yo, I need money for weed! Hey, why lie?" and I thought it was brilliant. I love signs.

  2. saidseni
    saidseni ·

    My favorite sign ever (but don't have a picture): "Today, we are going to open a little bit later." :)

  3. thelonghaulproject
    thelonghaulproject ·

    We LOVE honest signs like those examples. Too funny!

  4. thelonghaulproject
    thelonghaulproject ·

    We LOVE honest signs like those examples. Too funny!

More Interesting Articles