While in most cultures it would be a laughable concept to talk to a signpost, it seems to be a perfectly acceptable practice in London, where pedestrians are not just talking to one, but are getting rudely rebuked as well.
Recently a big placard appeared next to a signpost in London with nothing on it but the number “07580491887.” Astute, or rather bored, people who had nothing better to do decided to give the number a dial, without worrying it might be a clever ploy to collect numbers only to harass later with multiple “fantastic offers.”
Interestingly, all were greeted with a recorded message in a man’s voice – a rather rude one at that – which said, “Hello, you’ve reached a signpost. I’m very f**ing busy at the moment…. So if you’d like to leave a message after the beep, please do so.”
Then it got a whole lot weirder. People who avoided the awkward conversation and chose to leave a voice message to the number, were actually treated with proper replies. A lady for instance, recorded a rather appreciative and flattering message.
“Hello signpost. I’m looking at you—you look really nice, and I wondered whether you’d like to go on a date.”
But instead of a courteous response or even a polite refusal, the signpost replied in kind.
“A date? Yeah, I dunno. I am really busy standing around looking important. Signpost”
Fortunately, the signposts haven’t come alive and gained sentience, or suddenly become real-life jerks. The clever gimmick, called “The Number” was the brainchild of mobstr, a pseudonymous street artist who makes curt messages, thereby lending voice to otherwise mute and oft-neglected everyday urban objects.
Quite recently, the street artist erected a billboard which read: “Yeah? What do you want? Go on, piss off and look at the other billboards.”)
Though the artist hasn’t revealed his intentions about the clever contraption that not only understood text messages and analyzed their context, but responded to them as well, he did share some thoughts about why he does what he does.
“I’m just having a little bit of fun and I get great satisfaction out of it. Life doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I mean, I understand our immediate history and biological origins but the larger picture of existence is mind blowing. Painting on walls seems to preoccupy myself from thinking about this daunting complexity too much.”
The intelligent and rather obnoxious signboard may be pretending to be a human, but is surprisingly inundated with calls and texts.
[Image Credit | M.obstr]