The Traffic Cone that Stayed

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comBack in the winter, one of the utility companies made an underground repair next to the main road that runs through our neighborhood.

In the process, they took a small section of the road — not much beyond the curb. When they were finished, they left a 2×5-foot rectangle space covered by gravel. Most of it was in the grass.

The gravel was flush with the ground and the road. It wasn’t a hazard. There was no hole or bump or one of those big steel plates. It was no big deal.

Despite that, though, the crew left three traffic cones on top of the space.

They were probably complying with some safety rule. I thought it might have been a signal to the city asphalt repair crew to fix it when they came by with a little extra.

The two cones on each end of the affected area were fine. But the one in the middle was bent over like a Santa hat. 

I live in a nice enough neighborhood.

The homes and yards are well kept. We have hills and curving streets lined with big trees.

My point is, the broken traffic cone looked a little out of place.

That all happened probably in January.

The traffic cones sat there until mid-March, I’m guessing. That’s when the gravel got replaced by soil. Straw was spread to keep the grass seed from washing away. And the street got fixed.

The workers took two of the traffic cones.

I don’t have to tell you which one got left behind.

Today is June 25.

The Santa hat traffic cone is still sitting there.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and realized just how absurd that is. It’s been sitting there for 6 months.

Every day on our way to the office I tell Kim I’m going to throw it away on the way home, but I never do.

Public works trucks pass by it at least 200 times a week.

The trash man comes every Thursday.

I realize it’s not their job to pick it up, but you’d think someone would.

Thankfully, we hardly ever have police cars in our neighborhood, but yesterday I saw one drive by.

I think he was just checking up on it.

For at least 3 months, someone has been mowing around it.

I am going to make the traffic cone a project. I have a plan that I fully intend to carry out.

If it’s still there on Independence Day, I’m going to put a little flag beside it.

If it’s still there when football season starts, I’m going to give it a couple of shakers. It’s already orange for heaven’s sake.

If it’s still there at Christmas I’m going to attach a little felt ball to its bent-over top and put it in the Christmas parade on a float.

Then I’m going to bring it back, of course.

If it’s still there on Valentine’s Day, I’m going to put another traffic cone beside it because no traffic cone — bent over or not — should be alone on Valentine’s Day.

A nice reflective one only costs $17.75. If that’s all it takes to give a traffic cone a friend, then I can spare it.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:


  1. Mike Owens says:

    I retired from my work place six and one-half years ago (12/2011). During the last week I worked I move a traffic cone that was on the edge of the sidewalk in front of my office. I placed the cone near the entrance steps of the building. Today, six and one-half years later, the traffic cone is in the exact place I left it.

    Go figure!
    -Mike Owens

    • That’s hilarious. I heard a similar story from someone else who moved the cone, then someone moved it back!

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