Billboards / by kevin murray

I really don't think about billboards all that much, I just sort of accept them as part of the experience of driving.  Whereas there are some people that think of billboards as an eyesore or a blight, I seldom look upon them that way.  Most billboards don't garner much attention from me but occasionally there is a billboard that is displaying something of interest or catches my eye for some strange reason.  Honestly, what I like about billboards the most is their light at night; I consider it a windfall for the city to get private companies to pay for a billboard in the first place and then as an extra benefittheir billboard is visible at night because it is well lit, making the roads a little easier to see.


The biggest change in billboards nowadays is that some of them are digital.  While I suspect that digital billboards are regulated by city ordinances these are the best billboards of our age because they are extremely bright and can display over a 24-hour period more than one ad and more than one message.  I like them a lot because the ad changes and I appreciate their added illumination.


Billboards are most effective for me as an advertising device when I am driving in an unfamiliar area.  I definitely do keep my eyes open for things like restaurants, hotels, and gas stations because all of those items can be quite applicable to my situation.  While I realize that my GPS can help me with those tasks too, it's not advisable to be accessing your GPS while cruising down the highway at a high rate of speed and it can't really replace the sheer convenience of a billboard.


Anyway, what really got me thinking about billboards was I was pumping gas yesterday and I heard these incredible bird calls that were really loud and persistent.  It didn't make any real sense to me and when I looked up to the sky I didn't see any birds whatsoever but I did see a nice billboard nearby and although I couldn't actually see the speaker on the billboard, I put two and two together and figured that the billboard definitely had a speaker that was sending out those birdcalls to keep those birds away and it appeared to be pretty darn effective, although louder than what I thought it should be.


In looking at previous billboards I remember seeing seated propellers in constant motion to prevent birds from roosting and also spikes to do the same sort of thing.  Birds are wonderful creatures to look at, but roosting birds, nesting birds, and birds that are relieving themselves can be a significant nuisance, even a health hazard, and absolutely no fun at all.


I like signage, billboards, advertising and all that sort of stuff on our roads because they provide information which we can pay attention to at our discretion while also providing revenue, lighting, and employment.    Far from being considered a nuisance, to me, a town or city without billboards or advertising is either a place that is superrich and elite in a very negative way or a place of utter and complete desolation.  Billboards are a convenient way of keeping track.