What is wrong with this picture?
No, no no. I wasn't drunk and tilting the camera at a wild angle. The sign really is tilting that way. But no, that wasn't what I was thinking of. There's something much more deeply disturbing and odd and wrong about this picture.
What does the sign really mean?
I should explain that this sign is next to the area where we park our cars and trailers when we go sailing from Independence Park in Bristol, like I did last Thursday. Everyone knows it's a parking area for cars and boat trailers. The parking slots are extra long to accommodate a car with a trailer behind it. And it's just up from the boat ramp, perfectly convenient for parking your car and boat trailer after you've launched your boat.
So why does the top sign say PARKING FOR TRAILERS ONLY?
"Only" means "without others or anything further; alone; solely; exclusively." So if you can park ONLY trailers there you shouldn't park cars there too. Actually there was one trailer parked by itself there on Thursday. It was the only one compliant with the top sign. Every other trailer had a car or truck attached to it. None of them were ONLY trailers.
Perhaps it means, "Cars without trailers are not allowed to park here. This area is only for cars with trailers." But it doesn't say that.
Then how are we to interpret the second sign?
5 HOUR PARKING EXCEPT FOR BOAT TRAILERS.
So you can park here for 5 hours, I guess. But how do we interpret "except for boat trailers"?
"Except" means "with the exclusion of; excluding." So boat trailers are not allowed to park 5 hours. So does that mean that boat trailers can't park there at all? Or that the 5 hour rule does not apply to boat trailers and they can park there indefinitely? The sign is ambiguous. You could read it either way.
But taken in combination with the top sign we now have a totally confusing, contradictory sign. Apparently only trailers can park here. But some vehicles can park here for 5 hours but those vehicles are not boat trailers. So what are they? The only logical conclusion is that the authorities want people to park some other kinds of trailers next to the boat ramp for 5 hours. Farm trailers? Flat bed trailers? Mobile homes?
do does this bother me so much?
Why do I get worked up about such trivial issues of grammar and logic and word meaning?
What is wrong with me?