Freitag, August 07, 2009

Safety First

A week ago, I came home from a very enjoyable and interesting journey to England and South Wales. I learned a lot, met wonderful people and had a great time - and once again resolved to travel more often. It always gives me a new perspective on so many issues.

But one thing made me want to laugh and cry lots of times. When I used to travel regularly in Britain, back in the 1990s, I always thought of the British as rather calm, composed and sane people, not prone to hysteria at all. This time, I started to have doubts about that, since warnings and really odd bits of safety advice have become omnipresent there. And I don't just mean the fact that every single door in every public building seems to be a "fire door" that has to be kept closed (do they expect e.g. hotel guests to keep the door to their room open all night otherwise?), or the usual suffocation warning on plastic bags.

No, I mean the lots and lots of no-brainers. Like the "Caution: Hot Liquid" print on a takeaway coffee cup, the "Danger: Pool" note at the edge of a pool, or this sign in the middle of a lake:

The tragicomical highlight was a warning on the map of a National Trust monument I visited, indicating the parking area and saying "Beware of vehicles in the car park".

So, can someone please explain to me: What happened to the homeland of Common Sense?