I noticed something when I was in Texas with my mom and my sister and we would go to Wal-Mart in Eastland or Abilene. My sister especially, but my mom too, would take note of which row number we parked in before we went into the store.
That never occurred to me. When I go to Wal-Mart (preferrably Target, but it's on the south end of town and I'm on the north end of town, and there's a Wal-Mart really close to me, so I go there for emergency shopping), I try to park in the row that's straight out from the main doors. If I end up in another row, I take note of the landmark (like the Coke machine, or the word "Pharmacy" on the wall) at the end of my row, so I can find my car when I'm ready to leave.
It wasn't until we finished our trip and I got back home that I realized the Wal-Marts around here don't number the rows in the parking lots. Not even the new one with the angled parking rows that make it hard to find landmarks. The entire eastern half of the United States has numbered rows at Wal-Mart, as near as I can tell from the ones we saw on our trip. But Southern California doesn't believe in numbering things.
This is a typical freeway sign around here. OK, it's farther north, but it has the same look as ours. The only things with numbers are the actual numbered-highway or interstate symbols. Our exits aren't numbered. They're just named.
People who commute into Orange County know that you come to the Jeffrey exit, then Culver, then Jamboree, then MacArthur, then the 55 freeway. So, depending on which exit you take for work, you start moving over when one of the earlier exits shows up.
And nobody can remember whether Oso Parkway comes before or after Avery Parkway, because that's in the middle of the commute when you're not paying attention and you're driving 80 mph anyway.
My point is that we do very nicely without any exit numbers on our freeway signs. It's our way of life, and it's different from the rest of the country, where all the directions in the RV Park directory (and even from helpful people on the phone) give an exit number as the most crucial piece of information. But I didn't care about that. I wanted to be sure I was on the right street.
Then I noticed in the last month or so (it may have been there longer, but I just noticed) that they're putting exit numbers on our freeway signs. This sign is one that I drive under on a regular basis. Notice the Mickey-Mouse, pasted-on exit number in the upper right corner.
That's new. And I don't like it. It's dehumanizing.
Next thing you know, all the Wal-Marts around here will number their parking rows, and the deli counter at Albertsons will install one of those Take-A-Number gadgets like in the Northeast where people aren't polite enough to wait their turn and have to be forced into civility.
No, numbering is a bad thing, a sign of the decline of civilization. I may not be able to stop it, but I can (and do) protest it.