Yesterday, I rode the subway downtown with this lady. The sign she was holding immediately grabbed my attention. She sat and spoke to the woman next to her. I stood and held on to the pole. I leaned in to listen. It sounded like she was mumbling. It took me a two stops to realize she was speaking a different language. I snuck a photo with my Iphone.
I thought the sign she was holding was so funny. I had many rhetorical questions for her.
1. What caused her to make the sign? I imagine that each time this woman sees a yawn go uncovered, a small flame of disgust rises in her soul. In the past, she pursed her lips and shook her head back and forth in annoyance at the uncovered yawn; but that didn’t convey the message she wanted to spread. It wasn’t effective enough. The yawner didn’t notice her eye-roll. She wanted to let everyone she came in contact know her stance on the uncovered yawn. Pre-sign, her voice wasn’t being heard. Of course post-sign her voice isn’t being heard either because the sign is read not spoken, but at least now she is being proactive. This woman is gosh darn sick of looking at people as they open their tired-ass mouths.
2. How did she make it? If the woman made the sign herself, I’m impressed. She had to power up a computer, open a word processing program and type the words. She chose to make all letters capitalized, double spaced, and underlined. She abbreviated the word “you” with a “U”. She bolded the “U”. She made it a bigger font. She thought the abbreviation was more effective. I have to agree it is. It stands out more; catches the eye. After she printed out the words on white paper, she had to cut it out in a beautiful circle, laminate it, and staple it to a popsicle stick. Where did she get that popsicle stick?
3. Does she get the results she wanted? Do subway riders cover their yawning mouths as a result of the sign? Does knowing she spread politeness allow this woman to sleep better at night?
The sign made me question my own habits. Sure, I’ll cover my mouth as I yawn on occasion; but only if I have enough energy to lift my hand. Sometimes laziness consumes me. Covering my mouth is not something I do religiously, like praying or washing my face at night. I don’t feel as compelled as the woman to get others to cover their mouth. Since she feels so compassionate about the matter, I will start to cover my own mouth. For her.
I felt compelled to make a “polite” sign of my own. I looked up from my Iphone and saw the woman voraciously eating chips of some sort…ca-Ching.
If you want to learn how to make your own “polite sign”, leave a comment below. I charge &700,000 dollars per session. Thank you.