Monday, March 26, 2012

Overkill in the Old Dominion

I went to Charlottesville last weekend and happened upon two interesting maintenance projects--one on the UVa grounds and the other at a convenience store I stopped at in Strasburg, Virginia.

The good men (and probably some women) of Buildings and Grounds at The University were doing something to two steps. This this project involves four portable fence posts, three orange traffic cones, two warning signs --in red and black no less, a generous dollop of green plastic fencing and I don't know how many twist ties. The University must have had a papal dispensation to skip the blinking lights, a foghorn, guard towers and a two flag men. I do not have superhuman powers of observation, but I didn't see any actual construction in progress. I know that the sign says there is construction in progress, but it wasn't apparent to me.

On the way home to Pennsylvania, I stopped at a convenience store/Exxon station/McDonald's. I'd never seen all of them combined into one building. It must be the latest thing. One thing about a three-fer interstate exit amenity, it was quite the buffet of smells--the convenience store smell, eau de high test from the gas pumps, and of course that distinctive McDonald's aroma for good measure.

The men's room there contained this urinal, or perhaps a previously undiscovered work by Marcel Duchamp. Not only is there a Wet Floor pylon (non bilingual, McDonalds logo edition) warning you away. but there is also a plastic shroud over the urinal's handle. The Out of Order/Do Not Use sign is cheerfully secured to the plastic shroud with smiley face stickers. When did a broken urinal become something to smile about?  The nearby plunger is at the ready in case you ignore all those warnings and the Bold Look of Kohler turns into Strasburg's version of the Trevi Fountain.

Even with all those warnings, I am sure someone guy's going to use it before it's fixed. Even I thought about it....

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