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Closed Off From Literally Understanding

, , , , | Right | February 4, 2020

(I clean washroom buildings in a campground. While cleaning the buildings, we put out signs so people don’t come in while we’re cleaning. The signs stand upright on the ground; they’re about half as wide as the doorway and about waist-height. The text of these signs, verbatim, reads, “This bathroom is closed for cleaning. Sorry for the inconvenience,” which then repeats in French. One day, I’m cleaning one such building when a pair of women approaches the door, and I overhear this:)

Woman #1: “See, here’s a washroom.”

Woman #2: “Mom, this one’s closed. Look at the sign.”

Woman #1: “No, that doesn’t literally mean it’s closed.”

([Woman #1] steps around the sign and opens the door. I’m standing right in the middle of the half-soaking-wet floor with a mop and bucket.)

Woman #1: *seeing me* “Oh, is this bathroom closed?”

Me: “Yes, it is. I’m almost done; it should be just a few more minutes.”

Woman #2: *as they both leave* “I told you, Mom!”

Woman #1: “Well, how was I supposed to know?”

(Did she think the sign was a piece of performance art or something?)

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