A road sign that’s telling a lie

A road sign that’s telling a lie

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No Outlet

It’s kind of weird, how you reach my house. It feels like you’re coming in the back way. You turn right down this nondescript road overgrown here and there with brush, and are immediately greeted by a No Outlet sign. Except it’s a lie. About 500 feet later, the road curves sharply and suddenly you’re in my neighborhood. I’ve been puzzled by the sign’s presence for years.

When I test a new-to-me film or old camera, I shoot the same subjects over and over. One of them is that No Outlet sign. There’s just something interesting about it to me. It’s also highly available to me.

I’ve lived here since 2018, but it was only recently that I noticed that this sign isn’t reflective. All newly installed road signs have been surfaced in reflective sheeting for about 40 years now. Here’s a history of reflective road signs in case you want to nerd out on this subject. Before reflective sheeting became the standard, a lot of basic signs like this one weren’t reflective and were hard to see at night.

This road used to be a state highway, number 334. When I-65 was built near here in about 1960, a new State Road 334 was built 1,000 feet to the north to make an interchange with the new Interstate. About a mile of the former highway reverted to county maintenance. This road simply dead ended at the Interstate. There truly was no outlet.

But since my neighborhood went in, which started in about 1998, the county has never bothered to remove this sign. It’s stood there for decades speaking alternative facts. That’s quite something — the average road sign has a life span of no more than ten years.

I just thought this was interesting.

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Hi, I’m Steven, a Florida native, who left my career in corporate wealth management six years ago to embark on a summer of soul searching that would change the course of my life forever.

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