Thursday, August 13, 2009

The State We're In...

You know, unlike most people I know, I'm darned proud to be from Louisiana. I think our state, while short on morals and political righteousness, is long on culture, and that goes a long way with me. In fact, I think some of the dark and dirty episodes in our political history could probably be traced back to the cayenne pepper-laced culture we are steeped in. 

All that said...There are times when I do have to just shake my head at the unabashed redneck culture of North Louisiana. I think it's being a little too close to Arkansas. But the Ark-La-Tex, and Louisiana's Other Side is just a leeetle bit too diluted for me sometimes.  There are days I wish my grandmother had stayed put down in Lafayette and not wandered up here to water down the Acadian gene pool with some of that Yankee blood. (Yankee here being used very liberally. I don't think I have an ounce of blood in me that originates from a latitude higher than Little Rock.) 

That being said, I wonder if people in Washington or California, or New York, or even Iowa put up with bad grammar on road signs?  There has been threatened construction on a major interstate I use daily.  They have installed those big obnoxious signs that flash updates on the road conditions scattered along the side of the road for miles.  Somewhere there has been a disconnect in the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, because the signs are ready, but the construction obviously isn't.  For weeks, the signs have urged Louisiana motorists to "Drive Safe".  Ugh.  My eyes! My eyes!

There are some things I am a snob about. I admit it.  In my own defense, there are lots of things I am NOT a snob about. (I eat cheese tater tots and drink screw-top wine. Seriously. I think I have a good sense of balance with my snobbery.) Grammar is one of the things I am a snob about. I come from a long line of teachers, readers and writers, who, for whatever reason, managed to escape living in the boondocks in the South without horrible hick accents or pock-marked grammar. Those signs drive me everloving nuts.  But who do you call? Seriously? Can you imagine that conversation?

K: Hello. I'd like to file a complaint.
DOTD: Yeah?
K: The signs on I-49 have unspeakably bad grammar. It should be, "Drive Safe-Leee. Safe-Leee." 
DOTD: Uh, we'll get right on that ma'am. 

Yeah, that would be a waste of time. These are the days when I wish Tell the Times was still in existence. You could always find someone to give a shit on Tell the Times. 

Then, there are moments when the lunacy of Louisiana is just comical.  Shake your head, embarrassed for them comical, but comical nonetheless. Days like yesterday, when I went to the DMV, and caught a glimpse of this before I pulled into the parking
Looking at it now, I can see how people might misconstrue this sign to be offering a very formalized and legally binding version of the sno-cone. At the time, though I obviously picked up on the absurd, (hence the photograph), it was perfectly clear why this enterprising Louisianian was offering a one-stop-shop for more than one incongruous product. And why not? Got your cash for clunkers deal, need the paperwork done, it's hot, have a grape sno-cone.(notice, that's hypenated, and without the W, thankyouverymuch.) Makes perfect sense to me.
And, exhibit B. The signage on the building itself was even more captivating. No words from me. Just look and enjoy.

I did manage to get out of the DMV with a new license and my sanity. In seven minutes. Seriously.  The woman at the desk asked me if I wanted to go ahead and renew since it was almost my birthday anyway.  I was 4 dollars in cash short of the renewal amount so I declined. I was so awed that my number was called after three minutes I wasn't about to risk losing the mojo to go to the ATM.  I also had a fleeting moment of, "Wow...Louisiana must be doing something right. At least at the DMV!"  Then, on the way home, the same or surely related governmental agency bid me, "Drive Safe".  Welcome to Looziana.


  1. Katie, I can't even begin to tell you how much I love everything about this entry.

  2. Kate...Your are your Auntie's Niece!! When I was teaching English I used to give extra credit points to children who could find and identify grammar/spelling errors on road signs!! :) Love This!!!!

  3. My pet peeve is misuse of apostrophes. Using an apostrophe to make something plural is one that I see constantly here in WV.

    I wish I could remember the quote from a sign in a NEW restaurant close to where I visit my doctor that had done this. Recently, I noticed that they had painted white over the apostrophe. Someone must have clued them in to the mistake.

  4. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love everything about this entry.

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  5. I used to give extra credit points to children who could find and identify

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