IN THE PAST YEAR, I’ve begun to really pay attention to billboards. Prior to this, I viewed these mega ads primarily as visual clutter.
But now this open air, in-your-face advertising has evolved into a diversion from a long and weary journey along a familiar route. For me, that tedious trip has been the 600-mile round trip to and from Fargo, North Dakota, four times since February. (Our son attends North Dakota State University.)
At first the drive was interesting. I haven’t traveled all that often across this region of Minnesota along Interstate 94.
Now, though, I am so familiar with the sites that I can tell you exactly where to find the abandoned stone house I wish would be restored (near Avon),
…the location of the vintage smiley-faced water tower (Freeport)
…and even where you will spot a particularly interesting billboard coupon (Alexandria).
The billboards along I-94 from Monticello west begin to draw my eye as the land eases from urban to rural. They are a diversion, markers of towns and cities along the route and a source of entertainment and, sometimes, amusement.
Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling