Anyone who knows me will tell you that many, many, many things make me angry. So many people, situations and inanimate objects get me rankled that it can be difficult to squeeze in time for new hate.
But lately I've managed to reserve some for the advertising signs that have been popping up in the right-of-ways around my neighborhood. I know there are intersections around Wake County where it appears that snake-oil salesman have set up a mini-billboard convention - lose 10 pounds in 10 days! - but my West Raleigh neighborhood has been mostly left alone.
A couple of months ago, though, signs began sprouting for a new housing development. I immediately started ripping them out and tossing them into the trash. After the first dozen or so, I began to toss away only the sign and take the metal posts to the county landfill for recycling. (Among the things that draw my ire are people who don't recycle).
All this worried my wife, who wondered if I was breaking some sort of sign law. She hates the idea of bailing me out of jail.
So I called Larry Strickland, inspections director for the City of Raleigh, and he told me what I assumed all along: that I was only picking up litter. No sign may be placed in a right-of-way in Raleigh without city council's approval.
I've probably pulled up more than 30 of these signs, because as soon as I remove them, they reappear. I'm not the only one who realizes this. A few weeks ago, a passerby watching me take out a sign screamed "good luck!" from his car window.
But I keep at it. A few weeks ago I had a dozen or so metal posts stacked in my backyard shed, ready for the next trip to the dump. Then one afternoon, as I was digging around in the shed for tomato cages, it dawned on me that I could recycle those stupid posts myself.
So my garden is filled with them, holding up green zebras and sungolds instead of advertisements. I have to admit, the sight of it makes me smile.
Then again, the hate usually returns fairly quickly. I picked up another sign this morning on the way to work.