Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


on the buses of wiesbaden three signs indicate what cannot be done on the bus.

firstly, one cannot smoke cigarettes. the picture of a cigarette with the universal red line makes that very clear.

secondly, one cannot consume these three food items: drinks in glass bottles, pommes frittes, and ice cream in cones. these three items squeeze into the little box where the ubiquitious red line tells us that one cannot do these things on the bus.

thirdly, a pair of rollerskates. not in-line rollerblades, mind you. no, these are white rollerskates with four wheels arranged like a very small skateboard below a boot. the red line makes very clear that we are not allowed to rollerskate on the bus.

i do not know why one needs to put a sign up about the rollerskates, but there they are. the people on the bus with bad shocks bounce and tustle their way to the market, to the school, to their homes. not one of them wears rollerskates. most don't look like rollerskates are ever part of their lives.

but, if there is a sign, then there must be a reason for the sign.

"don't walk on the grass", ergo people are walking on grass, somewhere.
"don't dance in front of the Alamo," ergo people are dancing in the sidewalks in front of important monuments.
etc. etc. etc.

thus, i see the signs that prohibit cigarettes, french fries, and roller skates and I say to myself, "ergo..."

somewhere, people are smoking cigarettes, eating french fries and drinking from glass bottles. they're wearing roller skates all over town.

i'm keeping my eyes open for them. i'll tell you if i see them.

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