I found out yesterday that N/A does not necessarily mean not applicable. I went up to Canada, which is only about 20 miles from Bellingham. Now that the Canadian dollar is worth more, many Canadians come to the US to shop. Then, with school being out, that is quadrupled.
Supposedly, to help travelers at each side of the border -- prior to the exits for alternate routes -- a freeway sign that updates is installed and it predicts border waits at the different crossings. Yesterday, it said that the truck crossing was a 25 minute wait. It said that the Peace Arch, the main crossing, was N/A. Not applicable? That says to me that the border wait would be not applicable, as in minimal wait.
I found out that I was wrong in how I interpreted that. I am just not smart enough to figure out government speak. When I arrived at the Peach Arch, photo below, the N/A wait was one hour and twenty minutes. I was more than half way to the crossing when I snapped this photo.
So what is the correct way to interpret N/A? I spoke with a lawyer friend today, guess you have to have a legal mind to get it. I told him how wrong the sign was, complained that they don't update it. He said, "oh yes they do -- you just don't get it". He went on to explain that N/A means that the wait is so long that they cannot estimate it. Hence, not applicable, as in we will not predict it, we have no clue, slow down and wait.
At least I did get an education today -- some insight into government logic. It was my lesson for the day: The totally obvious is not always totally obvious and N/A does not mean not applicable.
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspections
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