The Guy Who Writes Confusing Parking Signs Explains Body Autonomy

Hi, I’m the guy who writes the parking signs for every major street in America. I know I do a stellar job and that, as a result, parking is often a smooth and easy endeavor for all.

Inevitably, though, there are people who will complain that the signs are “confusing” or “filled with bureaucratic gotchas.” I don’t know what’s so confusing about there being two-hour parking after 8 P.M. every day, which changes to one-hour parking on the third Tuesday of the month, but sometimes there’s street cleaning during the waxing-gibbous portion of the lunar phase. Not my fault that you didn’t check to see if the moon was waxing or waning!

Anyway, I know that things have been a bit crazy, what with the economic recession, police brutality, and the overturning of fundamental human rights by the Supreme Court and all, so, on behalf of the government and mega-corporations, I wanted to clarify when, exactly, your body belongs to you.

Evenings, When You’re at Home After Work

America is all about personal freedom. Your body totally belongs to you during this time. You wanna do cartwheels? Re-create Hugh Grant’s dance from “Love Actually”? Eat the Parmesan that got stuck in your hair which you initially thought was a gray strand? Go ahead. Your body belongs to you—but also technically to Facebook, Amazon, and Google.

Your autonomy is important to us, which is why we use your phone to surveil you and collect personal data to make sure that you’re having a good time enjoying your personal liberty! Our technology has pioneered a way to scan your eyes so that, at the smallest sign of displeasure, we can send a paid promotion to immediately rectify your malaise with an eleven-dollar cold brew from Whole Foods.

Whole Foods—we support your choice to buy from us. That’s why we have a store every two blocks. We want to make it easy for you to choose us and no one else!

Nights, After Dinner

By “night,” we mean 4 P.M. (a wholesome dinnertime). At that hour, your body belongs to you and you only. We’re not some authoritarian government like Russia or North Korea—we are the land of the free! Do whatever you want with your body. Though, after dinner, if you decide to have sex with a partner (if they’re the same gender as you, that’s totally legal—for now!), and you do conceive, you are legally required to carry the baby to term.

We know that doing so may introduce devastating financial or medical complications but, as we always like to say, “When in doubt, follow the law!” It doesn’t rhyme, but we don’t care.

Weekdays

Your body totally belongs to you. Except during business hours, when it technically also belongs to the corporation you serve—I mean, work for. We know that the twelve e-mails you send between ordering a Sweetgreen salad and picking up a Sweetgreen salad could be sent from the comfort of your home, but you are contractually obligated to sit at your desk or stand in front of a register for at least forty to sixty hours a week or you simply won’t be able to afford your house, car, or gas to drive to work.

We also feel that any lunch that lasts more than twenty minutes or a bathroom break that’s longer than a Pink Floyd song is time theft for which you must pay the company back. By the way, we are rolling out a new limited P.T.O. policy this year to make up for the cost of a billionaire C.E.O. flying to Mars. So choose one or two friends who really matter and skip all those other weddings.

Weekends

Hooray! Work hard, play hard. That’s what all the throw pillows in your office say. Your body totally belongs to you on Saturdays and Sundays. Just make sure to carry around a sign that states that you do not intend to protest anything the government or big business is doing, because otherwise we will have to arrest you. We’ve taken the liberty to write up some sample slogans you might use to avoid confusion:

“Police WERK!”

“Boys in blue make my mouth drool!”

“Who do we love? The government!”

Now, if for some reason you are deemed a threat (like, if you look suspicious or trans or melanated), then your body belongs to you but also to the jail you will be sent to for an undisclosed period of time. Don’t worry—you can totally leave whenever you want if you have sixteen thousand dollars in cash, seven different forms of I.D., and a limited-edition Tamagotchi from 1997. Thanks for understanding! ♦

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