Signs don’t always read the same way twice.
By Arlyene Dews, F404081
The digital message on my dashboard warned of icy road conditions, with the additional advice, “Proceed with cake.”
Since I am right-brain dominant, I did not consider how this advice was illogical. Instead, I visualized the car sliding off an icy road into a ditch, with cake bouncing around inside, depositing frosting and cake clumps on seats, windows, and floor. What made sense was thinking the cake bits would provide me with sustenance, for possibly days, while I waited for someone to come to my aid.
On the other hand, having a layer cake balanced on the passenger seat could cause me to drive with . . . care. A second glance provided the correct word. Now the message “Proceed with care” made sense to the left side of my brain, but it was not half as fun as thinking about licking frosting off the steering wheel, or slurping up cake crumbs from my coat sleeve.
Your brain can play tricks on you. Does it do this to amuse and entertain itself? Perhaps. More likely, though, it has something to do with viewing words quickly rather than actually reading them to absorb their content and meaning. That might explain why these funny brain bloopers seem to happen while you are driving, when you cannot spend time pondering what you just saw. You try to make sense of what you read in less than a second and, similar to texting too fast, you make errors.
Like the time my husband pulled into an unfamiliar parking lot and honed in on a space. “Stop!” I said. “You can’t park there. It’s reserved for someone named Amy Par.”
We found another space in the lot. As we walked past Amy Par’s spot, I got a better look at the faded, peeling paint announcing the private parking place. It now read “Angle Park.”
Upon telling my brother and his wife this little story, they told us theirs. They traveled to the popular tulip fields in Washington State’s Skagit Valley, where thousands of people converge to view the abundance of color the spring flowers produce. They drove around for what seemed forever, looking for a place to park. Finally my brother spied one next to a barn and steered to the empty spot. Suddenly his wife yelled, “Don’t park there! It belongs to someone named Norv Orbus.”
They drove around some more until they finally found a parking space. Walking past the barn with the private parking spot for Norv Orbus, they read the sign again. This time it warned, “No RV or Bus.”
Their little brain blunder has come in handy. My husband and I live full-time in our bus-size motorhome. You know the rule: you bring it home, it needs a name. We had a license plate holder made with the proclamation, “My name is Norv Orbus.”
When someone asks, “Where did the name ‘Norv Orbus’ come from?” the response provides an entertaining and amusing icebreaker for meeting new people.