If someone says “I just noticed another very strange asymmetry in the world!” what would you think?

There are, we would expect, natural symmetries.

Let’s start with right and left-hand doors, for example.  I assume you know the rule for figuring if a door is “left-hand” or “right-hand?”  Standing in the doorway, swing your arm in the direction the door opens.  That’s its “handedness.”   If the hinges are on the left side of your spine…well, another indicator that it’s a left-hand opening door.  Now the weird part:

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People buy a lot of one kind of door swing, but not so much of the other.  But I won’t tell you which one – make a not to drop by the door department next time you head into Lowes or Home Despots. (sic)

Ask them which one they sell more off…

But that isn’t what this morning’s Texas Tall Tale is about.  It’s really about wiring my just serviced inverter back into the solar power system.

“And this somehow relates to asymmetry, Ure?  Ure crazy!”

Well, yes, be that as it may:  Sunday was spent working on the solar power center.  I had coffee and was johnny-on-the-spot – ready to work at 7:45.

Just for the halibut I decided to plot out an estimated timeline so I could go back later and see where the project when off the rails.

The first pass suggested it would be a 1.3-hour project.  In fact, it was a 3.5-hour project.  We’ll get to that part of the adventure shortly.

But when it was all wrapped up, I got to thinking about my co-generation agreement with the local power company.  When I put in the system, they ran inspectors around the place trying to find some reason I couldn’t do what I’d “just did.”

Finally, they dinged me for not having a sign on the main switch for the whole property reference to the panel in the shop and being an A.C. source.

“You need a sign on your service entrance to alert a crew working an outage that there’s a source elsewhere on the property.”

They wanted not only a sign on the service entrance (which looks suspiciously like this one…) and they also made the point that even though I was running an NEC-compliant grid-interactive system, they STILL wanted a separate shut-off on the outside of the building.

Naturally, we’re happy to comply when regulations make sense.

So, no problem – got the signs made 9-years back when we went through this little dance of rigmarole and all’s well.

EXCEPT: When it occurred to me as I was picking up tool… “You know, there’s a sign at the disconnect saying that there’s a cutoff switch in here, too…

I was thinking of something on that stud that’s on the right with a battery carrier hanging on it.  (That gets used for two days, every 9-years, like clockwork.)

Not to the point:

I went looking for an “Emergency Power Shutoff” sign with a left arrow  because that’s where the damn panel is!

Was that a dumb move, or what?

Because when I went to the Nation Instant Products Center Delivered to Your Home with No Hassles  (otherwise known as Amazon) they politely informed me:

We found 0 results for “power shutoff sign left arrow”

Use fewer keywords or try these instead

All of which would be fine EXCEPT that ISYN there are 35-such signs with RIGHT ARROWS.

Now, sure, a number came up as “not currently available” but give me a break!

Is there some secret handshake that goes with becoming an architect that leads people to agree to “Let’s put places for signs in places that are only to the left (so right-pointing signs will work, eh?) and we’ll just pull one over on the public!”

I’ve designed a fair bit of square footage in commercial spaces for recording schools, broadcast colleges, and other such.  But in all that time not-a-once did any of the space planners or architects tell me “Oh, yeah, George, we can only get right-arrow signs.

After pounding my head against a wall for a while I thought… “OK, maybe I missed something.  Let’s see what happens with Exit signs...”

115 returns in the Amazon system will get you a right-arrow Exit signs.

Expecting the worst, I ran “exit sign left arrow.”


There’s 125 of THEM.  Are there more “left” exits than “right???”

This left me with an uncomfortable feeling that there may be a whole mess of these little in-noticed asymmetries out there.

And maybe, since life is a lot like the IRL version of an “Escape Room” if I can collect enough of this little pointers, it will as some point become meaningful.

It hadn’t though, so I knocked off on various shop projects about 3 PM and decided to go study for my blood test.

That’s the every six-months (or so) where I go to report the doc that I’m still alive.  He’s usually skeptical.

Fortunately, they’re not doing cognitive testing – yet.

Might, though, if they get wind of the kind of oddities that grab our attention around here…

Write when you get rich,


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