International Confusion…

Sofia and I, both being a bit under the weather on Sunday, decided to go to a small mexican restaurant and get some “comfort” food. We were early because of the time change and found ourselves in a virtually empty restaurant. The bug likes to sit on the same side of the table with me (to get me to draw with her) and as we sat on one side of the booth, we faced the front door to the room we were in. The facade of the restaurant is brick from the sidewalk up about 2 feet and then large panes of glass that extend to the ceiling. Anyway, Sofia was gazing out the large glass windows and I thought something from across the road had captured her attention. Finally, breaking her reverie, she blurted out, “no sitting on the tables”. I said, what are you talking about? She said, as plain as day, “no sitting on the tables” and pointed at the window. Of course I thought she was pointing out the window. As I stared at the house across the street and the skyline and the tire service store next to the house, I was stumped. Finally, she pointed to a transparent decal that was stuck on the glass next to the door and said, the sign that has a circle with a line through it…

Before I actually thought about it, I said, that’s the no-smoking sign. No, she said, it means “no sitting on the tables”. So in the 70’s, the AIGA (American something of graphic arts) organization was hired to come up with a series of 50 (I think) symbols without words to be used for travelers mostly and be interpretable easily by all in international settings. Most of them are pretty straight forward but I’m starting to think that maybe they should’ve run them by a six year old first. I keep thinking of the scenario where the manager of the restaurant points to the no-smoking symbol and tries to get his international guest not to smoke only to be confused more by the international guest’s insistence (in broken English of course) that he’s not sitting on the table. So, I’m suggesting at this point that the AIGA come up with another no-smoking international symbol and accept a small edit to the current one so that people stop sitting on the tables… it’s rude!

The bug also took on the big project of drawing everyone she could remember from the Oz books we’ve read so far. I tacked a large piece of paper on the wall inside her bunk and she went to town. I’m gonna have to look up the characters from each book because there’s been so many that we’ve forgotten many. She did get quite a few of them though. Here’s the bug mid-drawing…

Here’s the “finished” drawing, although I’m thinking she’ll probably keep working on it…



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8 Responses to “International Confusion…”

  1. rose bauer Says:

    I love this post. Precious!

  2. cindy shake Says:

    I’ll never look at a no smoking sign the same again!! Wonderful! This post was a flash back for me…YEARS ago in my past life as a designer, I was the president of the Anchorage AIGA -American Institute of Graphic Arts. Chapters of graphic arts professionals are throughout the US.

  3. Judy Shreve Says:

    Oh the uncluttered mind is to be appreciated! And you’ve trained her to have such an open-artistic way of thinking! Brilliant! Cause our old cynical brains wouldn’t even consider that a ‘no sitting on tables’ sign would even be necessary!

    And I love her drawing the Oz books — very cool.

  4. Liz P Says:

    That’s fabulous. How would one do a sign for “no smoking while sitting on tables,” and would it be different from “no sitting on tables while smoking”?

  5. jeff campana Says:

    Hilarious. I like the inclusion of a cup on the edit.

  6. ang Says:

    Ha!! brilliant, i do remember one of our lecturers repeatedly telling us to think like a child!!

  7. Patricia Griffin Says:

    Fantastic. The next time I see a “No Smoking” symbol, I think I’ll laugh out loud. What a wonderful mind Sofia has… and is so lucky to have a pop who appreciates a 6-year-old’s unique take on the world.

  8. Connie Says:

    I love it!! I had to look at the no smoking sign again to SEE, like Sofia.

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