Monday, we were on our way to our doctor in Centralia. We go 75 miles to the doctor because my health insurance won’t pay if you go to a doctor in the same time zone as your house. I guess they figure if you’re not paying 50 bucks in gas, we aren’t suffering enough to need medical care.
Anyway, our exit off of I-57, which is officially the “Illinois Trail of Broken Promises and Forgotten Dreams,” was covered with a jumble of orange cones. It was really confusing where the traffic lane was, and it took a lot of meandering and cursing to navigate the off-ramp. My wife, in the wifely way she does, scolded me about getting upset because, “They’re making progress on the road,” or some such nonsense. It’s sort of like the signs you see that say “Pardon Our Progress,” which is ridiculous in itself.
The wife was wrong, because on Wednesday, we had to go back to Centralia (which, in spite of the name, isn’t “central” at all). We took the same exit from Purgatory Road and the cones were gone. They were gone, and the surface of the ramp was the same as it had been the last 18,000 times we went to the doctor. There was no improvement and no progress at all. Eventually I arrived at the conclusion the traffic cones were a ruse to deceive us into thinking that they’re committing “progress.”
I hearkened back to when I fought traffic and insanity in St Louis. I motored around the same traffic cones and barrels for years. On random days, the cordoned area held burly hard-hatted workers and equipment, but usually the area sat empty and alone. One day, the orange barriers were gone. The lanes were open and well populated with cars. I felt like I was entering heaven when I eased into the lane, but a big pothole swallowed my front tire and knocked my front end into oblivion. All those years of being inconvenienced were for nothing. The road was just as horrible as it had been when Lewis and Clark first blazed the trail. I can only assume the whole deal was a ruse to get paid without doing anything.
I can use this. If it’s good enough for big scary construction workers, who am I to argue? I can adapt.
Let’s take my lawn, for example. As weird as it seems, it needs mowed all of the time in the summer. Forget for a minute that mowing a lawn is the stupidest tradition to ever arise in the history of mankind. Just accept that the lawn needs mowed all of the time in the summer. For some reason, it never needs mowed in the winter. My lawn needs mowed all the time when it’s warm out, and I’ve found the best solution. I put out traffic cones in my yard. When the city code enforcement persons drive by and see the weeds and brambles hanging over the sidewalk, they’ll see the orange cones. The uncivil servants won’t give me a ticket because, hey, he’s making progress. See the cones? They mean “progress.” Genius, if I do say so myself.
I go to the post office every day. I’m kind of famous for my postal obsession. I truly believe I’ll get a bunch of money in the mail someday. As you can imagine, the only two good postal parking places are very popular. Sometimes to get my mail I have to walk an extra 30 feet or more because those best places are already full. I asked the Postmaster to put out a sign asking patrons to please leave the spot for their favorite customer, but that’s not going to happen. My options are to walk, to wait, or to ignore that I may have a big bucket of money wasting away in my mailbox. None of those are good choices, so I plan to put an orange cone in the parking spot. Everyone else will see the cone and know progress is being made in the parking place. Little will they know that my convenience will be the only progress being made.
Maybe other parts of our state can use the orange traffic cones to their benefit. The House of Representatives in the capital can avoid angry citizens by putting out orange cones. Everyone will know they’re making progress, even if we don’t know what the progress is. Even our Governor can be surrounded by orange cones to make sure we know he’s making progress. On second thought, maybe he’ll need orange barrels instead. The big ones.
No offense, it’s just progress.