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One day many months ago, my friends Sean, Linnea, and Jesse, my girlfriend Kelly, and I decided to take a trip to Wankers Corner, Oregon. Linnea, being the one of us with a car, drove. It was a rather uneventful drive there. We came through the tiny hamlet, glanced at the bar and general store, then headed back north towards Lewis & Clark College, Nea's school.

So we get on I-205, then take that to I-5. We start approaching the eternally-under-construction interchange with Highway 217, and we see a sign saying, "2 right lanes end". Traffic cones, ah yes, lines of beautiful, orange, virgin traffic cones slowly close off the right 2 lanes.

This is a very bad thing You see, Linnea had a phobia of changing lanes, especially at that time. It would take forever for her to change lanes. Merging is far from being her forte.

So we approach the traffic cones, and Nea tries to merge left. She gets one lane over, one more to go. She looks to the left. Can't get over... so she has to go forward. Into the cones.

Ka-thunk, Ka-thunk, ka-thunk.

Finally, Linnea manages that one last lane. We are worried, however, that a traffic cone may be stuck in one of her wheel wells. We take the next exit, find a parking lot, and exit to investigate.

We check the wheel wells, one at a time, and lo and behold, in the right front wheel well is lodged a cone. Sean, in typical Sean fashion, recommends that we manually lift the corner of the car and fish the cone out. We try, to no avail: muscular Sean and four weenies are not enough to lift an early-80s Toyota Camry. So we decide to find a jack. We rifle through the trunk, find one, and jack up the right front corner.

The virgin traffic cones node defines a virgin traffic cone as either a) one that has never been hit or b) one that has never been abducted by a college student. So this duly qualifies.

We extract the cone, examine it. It has black streaks of melted rubber on it, and in itself a hole has been melted through. It's in sorry shape. Nonetheless, it is deemed a worthy dorm room trophy.

To this day, the slightly tattered traffic cone graces Nea's dorm room with its presence.

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