I have a confession to make.
Not a particularly damning or embarrassing one I would hope – but perhaps I ought to let you be the judge of that.
I have a fetish for street name signs.
Not the solitary, dull, diffident, street level signs we have in the UK, but those in the United States where they perch high above the road at intersections, invariably two or more pointing in different directions. Those too that sometimes portray a particular feeling – of romance, magic, nostalgia or even incongruity – through the marriage of the actual names.
And some – for example, Haight and Ashbury and Twelfth Street and Vine – assume a mythic status in the eyes of millions, evoking a meaningful moment in time and space.
Their position in the air often brings into the play other interesting or attractive features such as a pretty house, a bush, other signs, celebrated natural features, and always the ever fascinating dance of the clouds.
And if you don’t buy such fanciful gush, then you cannot deny that, at the most basic level, they at least serve a practical purpose in indicating where you find yourself at any one time, and help you to negotiate your way between specific places.
So I have gathered together a handful of some of the most interesting I stumbled across on my rambles round the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco over the past couple of weeks.
So here goes.
If you come across your street or house, I hope you receive it in the respectful spirit in which it is offered.