Sometimes, I get an image in my mind, and I cannot figure out what I am seeing. I observe, but I do not perceive.
The classic example is at the left. Some people see the haggard, old woman first; others see the beautiful young woman. But once you have seen one, it is difficult to see the other.
It can even happen orally. Our textbook in freshman Latin would helpfully include a footnote with the English translation of newly-introduced words.
One day in class, Bob Tyson raised his hand and asked: "Mr. McKenna, what is a buggler?" Our teacher looked confused. Thoughtful murmurs of "buggler" spread through the class.
It wasn't until Mr. McKenna looked at Bob's book that he realized the word was "bugler." Our repeated mispronunciation of the word kept us from a simple solution.
Well, that may be what happened to me on Tuesday. We boarded a bus at the Mexico City airport to be shuttled to our ride home on Aeroméxico.
On the window were three international symbols scolding us not to be unsocial to our neighbors. Two were easy to understand. No smoking. No cellular telephone usage. But the third was a mystery.
Now, I have become accustomed to arcane signs -- like the one at the Manzanillo Soriana informing me that squirrels are not allowed inside the store. But what was that third sign on the bus prohibiting?
Was I restricted from bringing my Uzi on the bus? Or from using power tools? Or glue guns? And why is whatever-I-cannot-do wearing a cap?
Lupe and Alex had no further suggestions.
So, dear readers, I leave this mystery to you to solve. After all, it is Easter -- the season of the greatest mystery of all.
Do you have any idea what the sign was telling me not to do? Or have I now lulled you into the land of "buggler."