Sunday, 27 May 2012

Beware the stick figures and salmon balls

A couple of things I saw today caused me to raise my eyebrows.

A blackboard menu outside a cafe was offering "salmon balls" for lunch.  For a mere $15 too.  I was pleased that the usual penchant for ill-placed apostrophes hadn't taken hold.  Offering "salmon's balls", or even "salmons' balls" would have delayed me significantly, as I would have been forced to satisfy both my appetite and my curiosity.

Later, I was visiting my local K-mart on the quest to add a slow cooker to my kitchen.  The store is on the lower ground level and entry and exit are via travelators (you know, escalators, but without the steps).  The one on the left was not moving and the one on the right was travelling up.  I stood at the top, wondering what to do.  There were several aggressive signs advising that walking on the travelator is "prohibited", but the only way down was to walk on the travelator.  I stood there contemplating.  There was a teenage boy standing at the bottom of the travelator holding an armful of store catalogues.  No doubt he had some special punishment powers available to him when people - like me, for instance - breached the prohibition on walking.  

I decided to risk it.  Luckily, as I neared the end of my walk, he was distracted by a small African boy.  But that small African boy was not distracting enough and was gone, just as I walked off the end of the travelator.  The teenage boy noticed me and called out "Hello!" as I scurried past.  I kept walking without looking back.  Phew!  That was close!

Having completed my purchase, I thought it would be easy to exit without breaking the law as the travelator was moving upwards and towards the exit.  I would just stand there and wouldn't walk at all.  Except for the bit at the beginning where I walked on to the travelator. And the other bit at the end, where I walked off the travelator.  I resented being turned into a criminal.

So there I was, just standing, enjoying the leisurely journey up to street level (they had the speed set to a smidgen faster than glacial today), when I noticed another series of threatening signs.  The first one said that the travelator was for "passengers only".  I remain confused about the message conveyed by this sign. I think it referred to the fact that only passengers are permitted to travel on the travelator.  But then, who else would be travelling on the travelator?  Wouldn't everyone who stepped onto the travelator become a passenger by definition? Perhaps there had been a spate of livestock transitting through...but what would be the point of the sign?  Sheep and cows probably don't read English.  Or were they hoping to deter people moving their pianos and baby elephants on the travelator? 

It was all very confusing.

Then there was a frightening sign where the stick figures on the travelator looked like they were receiving some kind of electric shock where they gripped the handrail.  I know it was an electric shock because it was  depicted with sharp, pointy and yellow lines.  The same result could be achieved if they put their stick figure feet too near the edge of the travelator.  The baby stick figures were receiving the same treatment.

Suddenly it all became clear!  Stick figures had been wandering around Footscray, taking up space on K-mart's travelators, walking on them and everything!  Something had to be done and so they were being told in the only language they understand - stick figure pictograms.  It was stick-figureism at its most blatant. And in my neighbourhood too. 

I'm far from being a stick figure.  The signs weren't meant for me at all.  Be careful though; those stick figures can be very dangerous when they venture off the page.

No comments:

Post a Comment