billboards are just paid graffiti

The trip to LMU is half 4-lanes with a median Interstate and half narrow 2-lane Highway. The Interstate is the quick part of the journey. It is also flavorless. Things get interesting when you reach the large green dinosaur (or is that a dragon) advertising for the fireworks vendor. That’s where you turn onto the small road that travels from farms to towns and back to farms again. Farmers on their tractors, teens on 4-wheelers and old couples in enormously large sedans slow you down to what feels like a crawl until you are able to dart past them. Doug loves the Interstate. He will hop on the speedway just to travel the distance from one exit to the next. I am more of a highway driver. It speaks to my soul. I repeatedly pointed out the ridges of mountains so close that it felt like I could touch them to my headphoned companion. I wasn’t offended that he couldn’t hear me. I was talking to myself anyway. I could easily get on a highway and drive without a destination. It’s like a magic carpet ride to unknown sites and sounds except for the tacky billboards that kept knocking me back to reality.

Beautiful squares of crops like a giant green quilt and then a tattered billboard advertising for a fast food chain that reminded me of my grocery list. The grocery list slipped away from my thoughts as I imagined sitting on the porch of one of the many old houses and then a deliberately shocking billboard slapped me in the face. Billboards are expected on the Interstate. They can even be useful. “How much farther to food?” Digital billboards could simultaneously display current Amber Alerts all across the country. On the small highways, the billboards are like graffiti. They’re not even as interesting as graffiti. Gangs of marketers are tagging our countrysides with their messages of consumerism. Yuck! It’s like sticking a giant red price tag on an authentic Monet. Put the price tags on the boring WalMall Interstate and leave the countrysides alone. You’re messing with my fantasies of mountains being sleeping Gullivers and the cows singing to me as I drive past them.

One thought on “billboards are just paid graffiti

  1. Guess, you have just gotten away with it far longer than we have around here. If there is a place to stick a sign for advertising, and enough eyeballs will see it… then it is there.

    When we went skiing this past winter, I couldn’t get a decent picture from an open area I wanted to photograph, because I could not frame a shot that did not sign (or at least the base of one) in it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *