On our journey through life there are many types of signs. They can be omens, harbingers, or foreshadowing of things to come. In the case of my journey to Bangor, they were actual, physical signs.
When I got on the small West's Coastal Bus, the driver informed us that there was a new policy. He even tapped one of the sheets of paper that were taped up all over the bus. They said "No food on bus and beavages in plastic containers only." I don't know what a "beavage" is, but I guess it doesn't mean what I assumed it meant, because what I was thinking of doesn't come in containers at all.
I saw a few more signs along the twisting Route 1, including no less than three stores that advertised "Welding and Live Bait." Apparently that's a popular combo down east.
There was a store in a strip mall called "The Libinski Dance Studio." Wishing it was called "The Big Libinski Dance studio" was hoping for too much I guess.
My favorite though, was a simple, crudely hand written sign stuck in somebody's yard that just said "guns wanted." Now there's a twist.
When I got to Bangor, the signs continued. I got on the Bangor Area Transit bus (BAT for short, and yes, they have a huge silhouette of a bat on the side of the bus). There was a sign that said "Floors slippery when wet" and had a hilarious stick figure that looked like it was jumping up and clicking it's heels together while simultaneously throwing it's arms out like a joyous Keith Haring painting on meth. Next to that was a sign that said "No talking to driver." People blatantly defied that one. Everyone seemed to know each other. Unfortunately, the bus smelled like stale cigarette smoke, booze, and body odor, in equal amounts. Maybe that was an omen of what kind of town Bangor was going to be.
It seems to be the kind of town where burnout kids still actually play hackeysack. It's one of the last places where there are mail boxes and phone booths. It's the kind of place where there is a crazed person on every corner just waiting for you to make eye contact so they can ask for money or try to sell you something (I'm a little disappointed that nobody has actually offered me anything. I must be getting old). It's the kind of town where I read this in the BAT brochure's FAQ:
Q: Can drivers accept personal checks?
A: Yes, please make them out to “BAT Community Connector.”
Personal checks?!?? On buses?!?? Where have I landed? What century is this?
I have to admit that after a couple days, the place is starting to grow on me. After all, the other day I saw The Hangover 2 for $6.25! I've already met the town crazy lady, who walks around downtown shouting gibberish and pantomiming in a strange mix of sign language and charades. She is a dead ringer for The Simpsons cat lady. In the land of the Bangor, the one toothed man is king, and I feel like a Nobel Prize winner in every category here. Just when I started feeling a little too cocky, I went to a wine tasting at a shop where I had applied for a job, and they were using Reidel glasses and had a well planned and executed flight of sophisticated wines. There are surprises around every corner.
Hopefully a sign of things to come.