Small Realities

Inside the mind of Lance Schonberg

Construction Moves in Mysterious Ways

I live in a bilingual country (official national languages are English and French), at least at the Federal level. Provincially speaking, Ontario isn’t officially bilingual but a fair bit of government business is offered in both languages and lot of signage gets posted both ways, at least at my end of the province, closer to the border with Québec. Signs warning of construction and lane closures are nearly always posted in both official languages. During the summer, there’s a lot of interprovincial tourism, so this is probably a good thing.

Late last week, driving home from work, one of the big orange electronic signs warned me of an impending lane closure, and in the distance I could see the end of the slow down. “Right Lane Closed”, it read. No real surprise. It’s summer, after all. Construction season.

I wish I’d taken a picture. Why? Becasue a couple of hundred metres farther on, an identical sign gave me a similar warning in French.  “Voie Gauche Fermée”.

Now, my French is just this side of embarrassing.  I’m working on it, but it’s a slow process and my accent is probably even worse than I think it is. Still, I’m pretty sure that the second sign read “Left Lane Closed”.  I had a couple of hundred metres more to go before hitting the end of the slow down and several minutes of waiting to find out who the clever sign programmer was messing with: the locals or the tourists.

At last, a transport shifted over and I saw the giant flashing arrow. Turns out the unknown joker was playing his trick on the locals.

Gave me a small laugh, at least, even if no one I told the story to did more than crack a smile.

(Okay, not quite the same thing, and certainly not new, but still funny.)


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