The Man in the Yellow W’stct
Heading across London in a taxi yesterday evening, I spotted one of my pet hates. The lane markings on the road around the Wellington Monument include "V'tria" and "K'brdg". Obviously there's not enough room to write Victoria and (especially) Knightsbridge in the road, but what is it with those apostrophes?
Now I'm a great believer in the words and syntax of our language evolving over time, but can K'brdg really be classed as evolution? Is it even obvious what it means?
What's sad is that a little man in a yellow reflective waistcoat obviously risked his life standing in that busy road to paint those road markings, but to what effect? Do they guide people on their merry way, or cause distraction as drivers have a Lynne Truss moment, snarling at the terrible contraction and apostrophe abuse painted across the lane in front of them?
What's this got to do with technology? Well, the man in the yellow waistcoat was only following orders, but somewhere further up the food chain a computer must have been used in the design and specification of the road markings – probably running Microsoft Word. K'brdg and V'tria will almost certainly have had squiggly red lines underneath them.
Perhaps one day, if the traffic is light and if I'm feeling really brave, I'll grab a spray can and add that red squiggle back again, underneath the lane markings.
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