metaphorical signs

in the last couple days, i saw a couple signs i found strange, and full of potential “other” meaning.

first, a few times in canada, i saw signs for an “area of refuge”. i have no idea what these are. this one…

appears to not only be an area of refuge, but a handicapped area of refuge. neat. the first one we saw was in the airport, and it was a tiny glass-enclosed room (like a miniature version of the smoking rooms you see in some airports, where the smokers sit looking like delinquent animals in a zoo for vices). maybe some canadian can tell me what these “areas of refuge” are. in the mean time, when in canada, i will use these as a visual reminder of what it means to live in christ: like the coneys (proverbs 30:26) who know that their safety is in the rock, my area of refuge is in christ.

then, today in the grocery store produce department, i saw a stack of little watermelons, each about 6″ or 8″ in diameter. and then i noticed the sign for them:

personal watermelons. i’m not sure why this both cracked me up and distrubed me. i guess it seemed (i know i’m slightly stretching it here, but that’s what metaphors do, right?) like a metaphor for the over-individuation of our world, especially our u.s. culture. watermelon is the ONE fruit (it is a fruit, isn’t it?) that, by its very design, is communal. watermelons are meant to be shared, to be sliced up into hunks for everyone at a party. watermelons belong in parks and poolside and at the beach. to engineer a “personal watermelon” seems oxomoronic at best, and reflective of our “it’s all about me” mentality at worst. couldn’t they at least have called them “small watermelons” or something other than “personal watermelons”?

what’s next, personal church? personal marriage? personal buffets? i think i’ll go outside to my large pool behind my privacy fence, and swim by myself while i think about this.

9 thoughts on “metaphorical signs”

  1. have no idea about the ‘refuge’ space – but i think ‘baby watermelons’ would have been a better name!

  2. When you love alone, believe me…a “personal” watermelon is good stewardship. I’m trying to think what they are called here.

  3. My take on the refuge thing, and I could be wrong, is this. Here in Vancouver we live in earthquake country, and the newer buildings have been engineered accordingly. I think the “refuge area” is for those (in wheelchairs, etc.) who are unable to get out of the building.

    I think.

  4. I’ve seen several ‘areas of refuge’ in buildings around Canada … as stated above, they are usually area that are enclosed and ‘safe’ for people to be in case of earthquake or even fire in some places – often stairwells. I’ve never seen the handicapped ones though. Wild.


  5. indeed our areas of refuge are a part of our disaster preparedness in vancouver. it can be a place to wait it out or to hang out after the disaster while things are hectic. at our hospitals the signs are even crazier, such as “walking wounded” or the like.
    however, your metaphors are nice too!

  6. Well, I have no metaphors to speak about but those watermelons are called PureHeart seedless watermelons by Dulciena Farms (the main marketer of these melons).

    I worked in a produce department if you couldn’t tell…

    When people asked about “personal” watermelons I made a point to call them by their real name cause I thought “personal watermelon” sounded stupid.

    What a crusade I have undertaken.

  7. “Areas of refuge” are well known in the construction industry in the USA. They are simply places where folks with mobility imparments can wait while the able-bodied flee.

    Firemen will ultimately rescue by carring or operating the elevator and get these folks down to safety. Elevators are not to be used except by firemen during disasters such as fire or quakes.

    Here in the states, such places are required to have telephone or two-way-communication to a central command, where they can make their plight known, and the responders can calm them until their rescue.

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