Traffic cones, traffic tickets and the long and winding road construction

Our lives have become an endless game of Frogger, thanks to that ubiquitous orange and white bane of the summer season, road construction.

The maze of blocked off streets near our house forces us to head four blocks north when we want to go south, turn west around a park, veer south, then east, then south again.

Yesterday, I drove to a nearby town for my morning boot camp workout. Our instructor, retired Army, likes us to be on time, as in at least 15 minutes early. Because, frankly, he scares me, I like to oblige.

So, there I was at 5 a.m., cruising easily, chuckling at the drive-time radio and calmly sipping my morning tea when I came to a dead stop thisclose to my final turn.

Road closed.

No worries, I thought, as I backed up and began the very familiar right-turn-left-turn-left-turn anti-construction process that had defined my summer.

I looked to my left to make my second turn.


Drove east and looked again.


What the?




By the time I managed to cross the railroad tracks and circle back to my original destination I was thoroughly lost. I remained so intent on navigating myself back to the park, that I whizzed right past a parked police car.

“Weird,” I thought. “Why would an empty police car be parked along this desolate road?”

The answer came with the flash of bright red lights, which clashed mightily with the blaze orange construction cones, I might add. It kind of hurt my eyes.

I pulled over immediately.

“I wasn’t speeding, I was lost,” I said earnestly to the polite officer (though I was, in all honesty, speeding a little.)

“Where are you trying to go?” he asked.

I told him and he kindly gave me turn-by-turn directions.

Then he gave me a written warning for excessive speed.

I blame road construction and I’m a little cranky about it.

I’m not the only one. My neighbors to the south have been blocked off their own street since April. Can you imagine? Every week they each have to drag their garbage cans down the street and around the corner; they haul groceries from remote parking spots. I’ve seen them do this in the rain. It’s a sad, sad sight.

My beloved 86-year old neighbor Connie the Cookie Lady, Circle Street queen and empress of all that construction, took a practical view of the situation.

“I told my kids, listen, when I die just roll me out onto the street and let them pave it right over me,” she said. “Just think of all the money you’ll save!”

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That’s Connie the Cookie Lady’s house, blocked on both sides by road construction. If the construction workers linger a little in front of her house, it’s not their fault. She’s always good for a pizza or two.
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The people in my neighborhood are nothing if not optimistic. Who else would host a neighborhood yard sale when the street was closed?
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The city of Appleton has graciously decorated our yard this summer with yellow caution ribbons and orange and white barricades. If we play the rain game just right, we’ll have a lovely wading pool to enjoy as well.
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Three words that strike fear in the heart of every driver.
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The only thing scarier than a Road Work Ahead sign, is a Road Closed sign. Thanks to a perfect storm of brutal winter and rainy spring, our city is full of these babies. You can whine about them, or, as Connie suggests, you can re-purpose them. Life and road construction are all a matter of perspective. When in doubt, go with the octogenarian Irish lady , I always say.



2 thoughts on “Traffic cones, traffic tickets and the long and winding road construction

  1. I loved the story. I shall be hiding in my basement for fear of retribution from you though. Lol
    But isn’t the orange a magnificent color? Heeheehee

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