Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Improper Poll: Wave Away

Years ago, an elderly man used to stand next to a busy street near here and hold up a sign advertising roses. He’d wave as people drove by. It was quaint. It was sweet. And it was so impressive that a man his age could withstand the elements—not to mention holding his arm up all day—that he was a bit of a legend in my area. The local paper even did an article on him. We always waved back. He was our friend even though we’d never met him. He was affectionately known as The Rose Man.

I haven’t seen The Rose Man in many years, but apparently before he left, he went forth and populated our town with waving, sign-holding Progeny-from-Hell. They are everywhere.

Yesterday I drove down that same busy street, which is admittedly even busier. We passed dueling, dancing rival pizza slices on either side of the street, some tax people, the person holding up a sign advertising “We Buy Gold,” someone in a gorilla suit (no idea why), somebody holding up a sign that might have been for birth control services or possibly against them, I couldn’t tell which, and someone else whose sign was much too small for me to read and might have been picketing something. All of them were dancing around and/or waving.

At the risk of sounding crotchety, all that leaping and gyrating and sign holding and waving annoyed the hell out of me and made it hard to drive. It was like having a bunch of little kids scream at the top of their lungs at the same time, “Look at me! No, me! Me me me!!!”

The worst was one I saw the other day. I don’t know what she was advertising, but I got a good look at her from behind while waiting for my light to change. She was obviously so cold and so tired that she’d hold her sign up a while and then let it drop, then stumble out what might have been a half-hearted little jig or possibly a foot that had fallen asleep. Either way, it looked painful. And it made me hate the company she works for, honestly, for making a person suffer through that.

So my improper questions for today are, do you have those waving, sign holding people in your area? And if so, do you feel obligated to wave back? Do they really get your business, or do they drive it away? Do you wave at little kids going by on amusement park trains, and why do we pretend that’s a parade when it isn’t?


  1. We have a Statue of Liberty, blue, in two locations. Stat waves like there's no tomorrow, sometimes does a little stirring-the-pot kind of dance thing, and gets all excited when somebody waves back.

    The enthusiasm is enough to make me wave. He's advertising some tax service that I don't use and don't know the name of. I'm guessing it has something to do with "liberty." Which is kind of backwards when you think about it.

  2. I wave because I feel awful that they have to do that and I'm always grateful that it's not me. I think I'd rather clean toilets. Seriously. But then I'm not the kind of person who wants to be "out there" waving and jumping around. I really don't think it drives customers in the door. I also wave at the little kids because they are kind of cute and it reminds me of being a kid as a passenger in a car and trying to get he truck driver to blow their horn.

  3. We have sign-waving kids here in Tucson. They stand on street corners, advertising sales, or whatever. What store are they advertising? I have no idea! They twirl the signs and do tricks with them, so we never actually get to see what store is paying them for advertising whatever!!

  4. Oh, yes, I wave at little kids on park trains. They're so happy and cute.
    The people on the street corners today are so far removed from your Rose Man that I seriously doubt they're his progeny. I agree with Lynn, what a horrible job to have.

  5. I saw a kid waving a sign from behind. It is a sign of the times. I feel sorry for them.

  6. Sadly, yes, we suffer with the costumed advertisers, too. The Statue of Liberty is EVERYWHERE from Feb 1 through April 15, and Stevie B's pizza always has a pizza slice dancing . . . although those pizza slices are a hoot and really get into what they're doing. People are always wanting their picture taken with them! See it all the time. I wonder if the pizza slices have to audition? If I dress up as a pizza slice will I become as energetic as they are? Something to ponder. . .

  7. You're right. They're everywhere. You have to wonder how safe it is to have a costumed person dancing around by the side of a busy road.

    Critter Alley

  8. I've seen the dueling pizza guys and the statues of liberty at tax time. One guy does a dance as he waves his sign, obviously enjoying his job.
    I miss the rose guy too. Oh, and I usually wave because I feel bad for the people holding up the signs.


Any return "messages" are appreciated!