Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Daily Story 75 - Why I Hate Giant Stop Signs

(All I can really say about this one is... yes, I've had this mental image before, and it is disturbing.)

Imagine yourself in a car, driving up a lonely country road. Far in the distance is an intersection with another lonely, winding road. You can see that it has a stop sign. You see that the other road is a bit busier than the one you're driving on, and you figure the stop sign's there to keep people from driving into oncoming traffic. You think nothing more of it, as it's still a long ways away.

The stop sign gets bigger as you get closer. It's perfectly natural - things seem bigger when they're closer to you, and smaller as they're further away, so when you approach something, of course it's going to seem like it's growing in size. But there's something strange afoot here. You thought it was going to be a regular old 2-foot stop sign, but no. It's not. It's gone past that. You're still about 1200 yards away, but already it's taking up more of your vision than a stop sign would if you were standing ten feet away. You begin to worry. Are you about to run into it? Did you somehow misjudge the distance between you and the sign and now have to worry about whether you're going to crash into it? But no. It's still far, far in the distance. The intersection is nowhere near close enough for that to be a possibility. Besides, there's still a lot of road between you and the sign.

You keep driving. The stop sign keeps growing. But it's growing faster than you'd thought it would. Now the top and bottom edges are slightly obscured by the top of your windshield and the hood of your car. The stop sign is still growing, those large, white letters screaming STOP at you from 600 yards away. You stop for a moment and get out of your car, rubbing at your eyes to see whether or not you're seeing things. It's still there.

You decide to drive closer. After all, you're alone, the rest of your sense of sight seems to be intact, you feel fine... there's no reason to stop now, there's a giant stop sign ahead. You get back in your car and keep driving. Then, when you finally arrive at the intersection, you have to crane your head back as far as you can just to see the top of the sign. It's got to be about a thousand feet high - and it's still balancing precariously on the pole, which means you're in a hell of a lot of trouble if it decides to topple over.

And then you see it. It's beginning to tilt forward. You've got to get out of here before it falls over on you. You get back in your car and step on the gas, shooting out from under the bottom edge of the gigantic beast of a sign just as it starts to fall... and you crash into a car that was driving across the intersection.

Luckily, both you and the people in the other car are just fine, but none of you know how to react to this strange event. All you know is that there's a stop sign with a 1,000-foot diameter lying on the ground, and whoever tries to drive on the road you were just on is going to have to take one hell of a detour to get around it.

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