Sunday, April 6, 2014

Of Signs and Change

Have you ever had a "compliment sandwich"? I heard about it at some soft-skills seminar.  The idea is that if you have to deliver criticism, it is often best taken when sandwiched between two compliments.  Something like: "I like your hat.  You are a douchebag.  Can I borrow your stapler?"  At least, I'm pretty sure that's how it works.

It's kind of like wrapping a pill in a slice of American cheese when you have to feed it to your grandma.  Right?

There are a lot of signs up on the Olentangy trial.  Many of them are signs of change.  For instance, there's this:
A sign on a sign on a barricade
And there are miles of snowfence:
But there's no snow!
There is a lot of work going on on the trail.  A lot of it looks like this.
This particular work is supposedly designed to add access to Harrison West/Victorian Village from the bikepath.  If true, that's an awesome idea.  But, I have my suspicions.  I think this exit actually will divert cyclists to a corral, where he/she will be kept, fed, and allowed to ride his/her bike in habitrail-type protective tubes.  (You hamster owners know what I'm talking about).  Whatever.  As long as I have plenty of kibble and fresh bedding. 

And there are signs all around explaining what all the work on the trail is for.  I have seen the future and it is shiny. 

Anyway, I love the Olentangy bike trail  Seriously.  I ride it to work everyday.  And I go to soccer practice and the library with the kids on the trail.  I trained for marathons on the trail. And so on.  Notwithstanding the US Supreme Court's recent ruling on rails-trails, I'm a fan. 

But I'm not the target audience for the Olentangy trails.  Which is odd, because I thought fat, balding middle-aged white guys with high blood pressure were everybody's target demographic.  But no, Metroparks is actively marketing to another audience.  Geese.

The target demographic
Geese.  Seriously.  The City has been really pulling out the stops. They have been trying to attract the geese with free fireworks and laser shows on the river banks.  They even set out fake coyotes, so the geese would have someone cool to hang out with while watching the fireworks.  Little did they know, geese don't care for fireworks.  Or coyotes.  They're Canadian, after all.  They think fireworks are too gregarious and lowbrow.  As such, they are leaving the riverbanks for looking for accommodations that are more haute couture.
As an unintended consequence of the fireworks by the river, the City now has to deal with gaggles of 10 to 12 year old children who have been drawn in by the pyrotechnics.  These roving bands of tweens are really causing problems, blocking travel on the paths and leaving their droppings everywhere.  The City is exploring options to humanely remove them. 

But, back to the signs.  There are other signs on the trail too.  For instance:
"Go away" in two languages.
OSU's sign is more euphemistically hopeful than the City signs.  It says "camping."  That's cute.
The thing about these signs is that they don't appear by accident.  The City doesn't place them at random, or just for decoration.  These signs are reactionary.  Whenever you see one, you can be sure that someone has lived or is living just off the bikepath behind these signs.

Somebody peeled the face of this sign, so, they're probably good to go.

Some homes are more permanent than others.


Some even have their own living rooms.

Sofa, recliner, and orange cone

And the people who live here have ther own signs too.  I found a bunch of them folded and tucked under a lammpost one day on my way to work.

The lamppost in question
The signs are used at this intesection to ask for change.  A different kind of change.

I put the signs back where I found them.  Saw one in use the next day.
Some people collect and display these signs.  Others have questioned the ethics of doing so.  I say, get over it and look at the people behind the signs.

Anyway, I love the trails.  And I'm not being provocative or trying to editorialize.  I see these homes on the trail everyday, and I needed to talk about it.

If you love the trail like I do, or even if you just use it occasionally, come to the Olentangy Greenway Cleanup Day April 19.  I'll be there, you can throw things at me.  The website asks you to register, but I bet if you show up at the Tuttle Recreation Center at 8:00 am, they'll be happy to see you regardless.

 Your beer pairing today:
A brown paper bag.  Put your favorite beverage in it and you're good to go.

Because, really, it's nature's beer koozie.  Also, nothing says "I'm not hiding an alcoholic beverage" quite as well as a paper bag.  Really, officer, nothing to see here.  Also, it comes with the beer.  So there you go.

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