46. Photos in the Mist.
I took a morning off from my holiday to go out and take some photos. The snow was gone by this stage, but everything was still shrouded in mist. This forced me to take a lot of black and white photos. So I spent the morning getting strange looks whilst pounding the pavement pointing my camera at things that clearly baffled the indigenous population.
It never ceases to amaze me just how American, America looks. I mean I do not know what I was expecting, we citizens of the outside world grow up suffering the blessings of a prolific American film and tele’ industry. But somehow we seem to confine it to the movie inspired section of our imagination and thus not real life. Then bizarrely enough we are genuinely surprised and excited when we visit America and encounter our first red fire hydrant or our first yellow school bus. And this cold misty morning was just one long wake up call, saying yes, this mystical gun-slinging cop and robber country really does exist. I took photos of rundown houses and empty roads. I took great delight in a bedraggled, fluorescent, American flag flanked, Ice and Friday Fish sign. Then there was a large rundown Pepsi, Corner Cafe sign, with a huge ‘eat’ command protruding roadward from halfway up the pole.
America has signs everywhere, I have said this before, but even in this sleepy hick town there was a peloton of signs adventurously vying for my attention. Most of them were either simple commands like ‘eat’ or signs telling you what you cannot do. I managed to get a photo of a friendly lady walking her dog along the beach in front of a ‘NO DOGS ALLOWED ON THE BEACH’ sign. Which was right beside the grammarless ‘BEYOND THIS POINT IS PRIVATE PROPERTY KEEP OUT’ sign. Which was right round the corner from the slightly better written for dummies, ‘Wisconsin Public Service Corp’. ‘WARNING High Voltage Above. KEEP OFF Can shock, burn or cause death’ sign. I tend to think that if you are dumb enough to climb power poles, then you get what you deserve. Across the road from this sign was another halfway up a tall pole. It simply read ‘Bird house’ and had an arrow pointing upwards. I followed the arrow up the pole and sure enough there was a little bird house sitting embarrassingly on top.
However my favourite sign came in the form of many little yellow flags which were rather prolifically and haphazardly stabbed into the grass on the side of the pick-up infested road. Each little flag was about the size of my hand and read ‘CAUTION BURIED GAS LINE HAND DIG WITHIN 18 INCHES WISCONSIN PUBLIC SERVICE’. I was dumbfounded by these flags. Why does a Kiwi living in Lithuania need to know where the gas line is? Did I need to obey the command to ‘hand dig within eighteen inches’? Simply weird.
Being a boy, I took lots of photos of trucks, pick-up trucks and tractors. I stopped and even took a photo of the local British Petroleum service station. Even something as British as BP looks American when placed in Hicksville ‘Up North’, Wisconsin. I guess the ‘BAIT BEER LIQUOR WINE PIZZA SUBS BURGERS’ sign helped the contextualisation a little.
I spent the whole morning freezing my fingers clicking away. I even got attacked by a rather camera shy dog who seemed to be protecting one of the local bars.
Most of the locals treated me with great suspicion. I got a hello from the ‘Miller Lite’ man. However that was it – but I didn’t care – I had a fun and extremely relaxing morning.
Tune in next week get absolutly stinkin’ fat.
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You may have noticed some bracketed numbers in this chapter. These numbers correspond with explanations and definitions that are in an accompanying glossary. To read the glossary you will need to by the yet to be released book. Sorry!
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