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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Very Disconcerting Signs

So, I saw this billboard on our way to San Antonio. It immediately made me say, "Jesus (because everything in Texas must begin with an acknowledgement of little baby Jesus, followed directly by the heroes of the Alamo), I sure am glad that I'm NOT going to Laredo."

Which is probably not the intention that the creators of the sign had in mind, but it is exactly what it made me think. You see, I'm from Iowa, so I find it difficult to keep up with the current events in Laredo, Texas. Without the sign, I might have been inclined to say, "Laredo" Sure. What the hell. Why not stop in Laredo?"

With the sign, however, I am more inclined to think, "Holy shit, if they have to put up a giant sign telling me that it is safe in Laredo, then there is no way in hell I am going anywhere near the place! Good God (and baby Jesus, and the heroes of the Alamo), they don't even put up signs like that when you're going to Detroit, and that's Detroit, for Christ sake!"

So, Just for fun, I dropped by the website. It's pretty much what I had expected. It's got some terrific non-information, like, "...homicide rates lower than Houston..." and doesn't that just scream family vacation destination?! Laredo...at least we're not Houston!
Anyhow, it got me to thinking about other signs. What was wrong with the old management, I wonder?
Okay, that one is actually pretty good.
But this is exactly the same concept behind the Laredo sign. I can't tell you if their restrooms were really clean or not, only that Lorri refuses to stop anywhere that advertises their "clean restrooms" on a road sign. Apparently, she would rather roll the dice at more questionable facilities, where such pride in the cleanliness of their restrooms is not quite as overt.

Ideally, I'd like to try my luck at a truck stop in Laredo that ALSO advertises clean restrooms on roadsigns. I'd think it would sort of be the best of both worlds, you know?
Has anyone EVER seen one of these signs in a restroom that they'd like to give a Zagut star to? (What's that? Yes, I know that Zaguts are for restaurants. Yes, I'm sure there is some sort of award system for truck stops. No, I don't care enough to look it up.)

This sign says to me, "You had better pick your shit up and keep this place clean, because we sure as hell aren't going to do it."
And then there is my own personal favorite. You see, I'm sort of a rural hillbilly from Iowa. Nobody in Iowa ever dreamed of having a restroom and NOT allowing someone to use it. THAT is a big city concept (probably designed to keep out literary agents, who are widely known for smearing fecal matter on the walls and wiping boogers on the mirrors. Nasty Bastards).

I experienced this for the first time when, in my relative youth (and at a time in my life when I still suffered from some form of acute irritable bowel syndrome), got off a subway ride in Washington, DC, only to discover that there were no public restrooms available anywhere, causing me to respond with a poop right on the convenience store counter (okay, not really, but I would have liked to).

Whatever the case, it still pisses me off whenever I see the sign anywhere. And it's almost always at a place where the dirty little guy behind the counter apparently hasn't showered in six weeks (maybe all of his running water is off?), like he is worried about my ass being that much dirtier than his that he has to keep from sharing the same toilet with me, or worse, God (and little baby Jesus, and the heroes of the Alamo) forbid that he actually provide toilet paper to customers, or anyone who hasn't bought a three dollar, ten year old hot dog out of the rotisserie rack (no. It has to be to keep the literary agents out. It's the only thing that makes any sense really).

Whatever. It makes me wish I was in Laredo though, where you might get killed by roving Mexican drug cartel members, but at least you'll be able to take a shit when you need to.

Thanks for Reading!



  1. Laura Leonard-ProvencherJanuary 29, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    It's Zagat, not Zagut, once again earning my spelling title. Let me know if you need me to proof your next book, ha! Never been to Laredo, but I'll be back in Houston next week.

  2. Love your sense of humour. And your name!

  3. Well, well, well... if it isn't Laura Leonard! No doubt, she's come back for a rematch of the second grade spelling bee. Feeling guilty about something Laura???
    Look, just give me the trophy and I'll call it even on the last thirty years of sorrow and misery.

    P.S. Forget the next book. I need someone to proof my last one(s). I've lost the ability to self-edit entirely (probably due to some childhood trauma). Be careful in Houston. I hear it's worse than Laredo.

  4. Amanda,

    Thank you for your kind words. It means the world to me whenever anyone comes on here and leaves a comment and their name ISN'T Laura Leonard! Don't even get me started, Amanda. It's still difficult to talk about.

    And while I can't really take much credit for my name...thanks! My regular reader will appreciate that! (Did you hear that, Mom? Amanda likes my name. Nice job with that!).