Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Behind the Yellow Line

The frost broke up the yellow paint on the no-parking lines in Raglan Road. Yellow is a very noticeable colour, which perhaps explains its use as demarcation lines in airports, railway stations and roads. It usually says you cannot do something, although for railways it is a safety line. At sea, the yellow and black chequered flag means quarantine. In Islam golden yellow can be holy and stands for wise counsel, whereas a pale yellow connotes treachery and deceit. In our own culture, those accused of cowardice are often called "yellow" and in the French middle ages, yellow was painted on the doors of bankrupts. These are quite ambivalent, so it's largely a matter of context. The distressed road paint made an interesting sight but why the inside line held and the outside did not, I do not know. Quite often, road paint is applied on top of the old surface and occasionally it's becomes quite a noticeable bump, enough to dislodge a cyclist if not paying attention. It does remind me of Chinese symbolism though. The yellow seems to emerge from the black - the earth emerging from the primeval waters.