There have been some high quality Roadside Sightings to kick of 2006, folks:
1. Neon Division: On the way to Milton Saturday night to watch the Pats fade away, I spotted the famous Schrafft's building in Charlestown. Its flirty pink neon sign read "SCHRA_FTT'S" on one side, "SCHRAF_TT'S" on the other. Do you suppose they time the F's so that they're never out at the same time? On the way home, the front of the Barnes & Noble in Braintree read as follows: "Barnes & Noble Boo...ore." Mmm hmmm. Finally, a certain bank in Medford Square yesterday had been rechristened "it zens Bank." Woah!
2. On the back of a delivery truck, the following message in very large, neat letters somehow wiped in the grime on the rear door: "I SUCK/ARTHUR IS MY GOD/GO PATS!"
3. Here's another indoor retail sighting: at the perpetually overcrowded, understaffed Michael's arts & crafts store in Burlington, I made the mistake of showing my face on a school holiday. The place was packed with moms and kids, and one pair was being sort of loud (like overexcited loud, not bratty loud, to be fair). A brother and sister, around age 8, were loudly commenting on everything they saw: "Cool, foam letters! WOWWWWW, look at that tiger sticker!" etc. Then I come around to find them sorting through a pile of straw hats (I think they were to make doll outfits with). The girl picked up a rather large one, with a big round brim. "Put it on!" Brother cried. She complied. "You are a Japanese woman!" he yelled. I almost laughed, because he sounded so pleased with his "joke," and he didn't say it in a mean way or make goofy "Japanese" faces, etc., but it was still kind of appalling. His mom turned from the photo frames in horror and said, "[Name]! That's enough!" and hustled them off. It made me think of a recent topic of conversation around our house, how kids absorb these weird, outdated cultural references from TV and movies, esp. cartoons, that they take at face value, whether it's a stereotype like Asian headgear or things like TNT, hot water bottles, or limburger cheese -- not too many kids see those around the house anymore, but their humor value gets through loud and clear. Interesting...