I just got back from my second summer vacation – yes I am spoiled, more on that later – but I kept coming across the most amusing signs everywhere I went. And luckily, because it was vacation and I have to capture every moment so I can look back and hold onto them for dear life in the dead of winter when I’m surrounded by eight kids…
Um — sorry about that. What I meant to say was, because I love to document my vacations very thoroughly, I always have my camera handy. So here are the prizewinners of the week.
On the first day of vacation we got coffee and went to the beach. And we were so lucky that they put this helpful sign there so we would know how to get onto it!!
I especially love the hands. Why the overly aggressive pointing? Would people be banging into the fence without the signs to show where the hole is? And the double “No dogs” signs. I guess they figure if one sign doesn’t do the trick, then two definitely will.
Next we move on to one of our favorite places, the wacky bakery/ herb farm/crystal and tarot card shop with a giant herd of free-range chickens. You can feed them but they surround you and it’s slightly frightening for us cityfolk. So I have a feeling there may have been some chicken violence?
They’re not just bad, bad, bad.
Sadly, I did not see one person wearing that hat once we got in.
The English village, which you find behind that awesome sign, has people dressed up and acting as actual settlers. They use a funky accent and say “Aye” instead of “Yes,” stuff like that. They even have roles to play – one guy was complaining that his house wasn’t big enough and his father would want him to have a bigger one before he got married. Since the floor was dirt, I wanted to suggest that he also aquire some rugs before he got married, aye? But I’m sure they get sick of snarky tourists and I didn’t want any p.o’d English-settler-actor juju on me.
When you get to the Wampanoag village, instead of jaunty hat guy, the sign tells you to “Please…Avoid Harmful Stereotypes.”
Check. I’ll try to avoid the war-whoops. Well I guess in a society that allows (nay, encourages) the Atlanta Braves tomahawk chop… OK, maybe my sarcasm is a little over the top, but if they had to make a sign that politely asks people not to do those things, I’m guessing that people DID do those things, and that is really sad.
As the sign explained, the Wampanoag people were not acting, but they were dressed up in costume. The baby even had a real diaper on under its native animal skin tunic. I’m not complaining, in fact I’m thrilled that the Native Man we talked to was so cool that he won my mother over despite her initial skepticism (and you wonder where I get it?). I just suppose they weren’t acting because it only would have been fodder for the harmful stereotype list.
But. I have to point out that it was a little disconcerting thinking about all these rules for our behavior, while talking to a guy whose parts I could almost see peeking out from his costume, but I was pretending I couldn’t, while he traded German phrases with some people from Frankfurt. And I tried not to be distracted by his frankfurter.
Hey! I think I just figured out the real reason why the natives freaked out the English so much!
Anywho. My next sign, well, I’m not really hippy-dippy but I just liked the sentiment. Forgive the vertigo reading effect, I took this picture from inside a pack of tourists. And you know how I feel about tourists.
AND NOT JUST FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF HUMANS!! (Did you hear that, tomahawk chop cow?) I must have some Wampanoag blood in me because, hallelujah sister, I loved that. It also said that “acknowledgement of and respect for the lives offered to sustain ours were integral to all processes. Every aspect of life, family, community and nation was purposefully constructed with this philosophy.”
It is pretty cool that my sons know who the Wampanoags are, thank you Lynne the preschool teacher, and that actually helped convince them to go on this Journey Into History. And hopefully they’ll get a little of that philosophy instead of, oh I don’t know, let’s suck the life out of everything on the planet until it can’t sustain us anymore.
OK, parting shot. Later in the week we had to go back and feed the chickens again (but not the bad, bad, bad, bad ones). And we were very saddened to see another, new sign in the yard:
Forgive me, but my first impulse was to laugh (actually my first impulse was to laugh at most of these signs, I am not a very mature person). But something bad must have happened to one of the chickens and that made us all a little sad.
And I’m really hoping they threw “children” in there just to drive home their point? And there was no anything-on-child violence? But the next time they see a dog in the yard, they should really just sic the red roosters on it, asap!