The View From 32


APRIL 23, 2007     More below: MIXED MESSAGE

Scrap of paper with handwritten ideasWhy I ask why?

This scrap of paper was one of many that had run aground on stones in Big Creek where I was walking before going to work today.

Is it really an anguished note from a troubled teen? Or maybe just an English exercise done for class?

The torn papers were all over the place, as if someone had emptied a bag into the water. This one was underwater when its purple ink caught my eye. I rescued it and carefully spread it to dry on a fallen log near the path.

I'm not the only one who's fascinated by these glimpses into the lives of others. The website/magazine FOUND is devoted to nothing but. Take a look—it can be addictive.


Green stop sign that says goStop? Go?

Here's a textbook example of cognitive dissonance: trying to hold two conflicting thoughts at the same time.

The octagonal shape says STOP!

The green color (and the text) says GO!

What do they want me to do? In this case, the sign posted in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Cleveland Clinic is telling me to both stop (don't continue walking down the hall) and go (Go! Directly to the nearest sink to wash your hands, etc.)

The yellow arrow adds to the confusion: note the yellow diamond to the right under the "M31" sign that has a cautionary message on it. In signs, yellow usally indicates a warning of some sort.

In an environment that is new and unfamiliar to the average visitor it's important that signage be as clear as possible. In this case I think at least two symbols are needed: a red Stop sign and a green arrow directing you to the sink where you wash your hands.