Mouth agape, wide-eyed and stunned at the WaWa station – I beheld a tee-shirted man holding a frosty drink and belly laughing at me. In the bay just ahead, this guy observed what I failed to see: two traffic cones smashed under my two wheels. Not one, but two—smashed flat!
Seconds earlier I had felt a ripple on my driver’s side tire but my car moved ahead, haltingly. Yes, I had detected some resistance but thought it may have been the metal caps of an underground well for holding gas. No, Sireee!
Then I heard a disembodied voice over the service station intercom announcing for all to hear, “Ma’am, you’ve just run over the traffic cones. This pump is out of order. Move ahead to the next one.”
The Frostee-drinking guy took his sweet time to mount his truck, pull on his seat belt and move ahead, but when I cleared the out-of-order pump and moved on to where he had been gassing up, I turned back to see one of the lurid orange cones re-inflate halfway, the other still flat. As I pushed the nozzle into my gas tank though, both smashed orange cones stood straight up. That blessed image caught my full attention.
I could safely remove my dunce cap.
I had just come from a riotous lunch with friends at J Alexander’s. No alcohol, just endorphins from laughter with friends, I imagine now.
How could this have happened? Spotting the station, I had approached what looked like an available pump, maneuvering my steering wheel hard left, a tight hook to line up to the screen and nozzles of the gas pump I was aiming for.
No out-of-order sign appeared in my line of vision. No obvious orange cones either, a giveaway for an out-of-service pump. Maybe my crossover, a high-off-the-ground vehicle, obstructed my view.
Still, why oh why did I do such a dumb thing?
I guess I forgot to take my Smart Pill!
Gratitude: Ultra-flexible traffic cones!
A Cone Story from Southlake, Texas
Read about citizens’ sympathy for a battered and bruised cone pictured here:
Remember this movie?
* * *
It’s your turn to tell your “accidental” story. Readers probably hope embarrassment is part of the tale. I know I do!
Thanks for the morning chuckle, Marian. The picture of you is priceless. Good to know those cones can rejuvenate. That info might just come in handy.
Yes, some cones do re-inflate. Even after the ones I ran over stood up straight again, I couldn’t detect any scoring marks to show how the cone would come back to life. You just never know. I’m glad this post gave you the chuckles, Shirley!
ha ha! ha ha! Yes, such things have happened to me. My brand new car some years ago – I remember parking in a tight spot to attend a meeting. Passers by turned around to look – I had no clue. Only weeks later did I note a dent on the front fender and remembered …
Your comment reminds me that the urgent sometimes masks the important. Your focus on the meeting probably predisposed you to overlook the obvious. Thanks for your story, Susan!
Too funny, Marian. One of my many embarrassing moments happened the first night I met Derek. He told me he had a twin sister and I asked if they were identical. I guess I was more of an airhead than a conehead.
Jill, maybe you were ahead of the news. 🙂 I heard on BBC news and NPR that there are two known cases of semi-identical twins. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/feb/27/scientists-stunned-discovery-semi-identical-twins
That sounds good to me, Merril. I’ll have to show this to Derek. 🙂
It’s really fascinating, isn’t it?
They could have been identical or fraternal, so that was a legitimate question!
Yes, L. Marie. But generally identical twins are the same gender. Fraternal twins can be either. I think Jill was referring to the fact that since her boyfriend and his sister were of a different sex, they couldn’t be identical twins. That’s why she felt so embarrassed. However, what Merril mentioned in the link would support your view.
Thanks for the link from NPR, Merril. I have never heard of semi-identical twins until now. 🙂
I think it’s so interesting. I guess they’re testing some fraternal twins to see if they can find more sets of semi-identical twins, but I don’t think they have so far.
Your link certainly generated a lot of discussion here. I’m glad to know about this rare type of “twinning.” Thanks again, Merril.
Merril has intervened with support for what you thought was a gaffe. Who knew? Thanks for sharing your story, Jill.
Haha, Jill. That sounds EXACTLY like something I’d say. I love that we are clueless in the most guileless and innocent ways. It’s what makes us writers, somehow. 🙂
<3 I love that Derek overlooked my clueless question, Pam!
Good morning, Marian! We’ve all had embarrassing moments. I’ve probably tried to wipe most of mine out of my head. 🙂 It sounds like you had a fun lunch though!
I never knew the cones inflated either.
Glad you enjoyed it – and discovered something new too, Merril!
You’ve got me curious now just what function embarrassment serves. We’ve all “been there” — but did we change as a result? A source of laughter? Sounds cruel. Yet I know your story is light hearted. And it put a smile on my face. But Why? Why is it funny? We humans do have the oddest ways sometimes. As for my embarrassing story… I only wish I could remember. I know there are surely plenty.
I don’t think the laughter in this case is cruel because I’m laughing at myself. If this incident happened to a teen, the reaction might be taken differently. Who knows? I’m glad you took the light-hearted stance in my story. Of course, that’s what I intended. 😀
Yes. I’ve found it rather futile to try to analyze humor. Just try to enjoy it when I can. Thanks for sharing your moment. Glad the cones survived.
Oh Marian! 😀 I’ve hit the cones in my parking lot. They’ve been there for months guarding the same pothole that has yet to be fixed.
I’ll tell you an incident that wasn’t accidental. Years ago, I approached a one-way street. I was too lazy to drive another block to the street going in the direction I needed to go. So I zipped down the street only to encounter a police officer who was going the right way! Needless to say he followed me. When he asked me if I knew I was driving the wrong way, I admitted that I did. Why should I lie? He’d caught me! But he didn’t give me a ticket out of the kindness of his heart. I’m sure he had a good laugh off that! 😀
I wonder if anyone observed your traffic cone incident. Did you run over them intentionally since they were there so long? Now I wonder . . .
In your second story, I imagine the policeman detected that you were sober and not argumentative with him. I certainly can relate to what you did. Sometimes I feel like driving the wrong way about a half block to enter my bank’s parking lot downtown. I don’t want to wrangle with a Jacksonville policeman, so I’ll resist the urge. Ha Ha!
Hahaha. Well, it could have been worse. The school where I used to work, and Peter still does, has small, low, white-painted concreted bollards that seem to have been made with a small beach bucket all around the oval green in front of the main entrance to prevent cars driving on the lawn, but they are too low to see when driving and countless people, including me, have run into them, damaging bodywork! Wretched things! I wish they were inflatable and soft! 😠
That’s really upsetting, concrete impediments. I would hate to have damage to my car as well. Thanks for adding a new word to my vocabulary: bollards. I can guess the meaning from the context. So sorry, Fatima!
I thought the word bollard would be the same in American English. Please, do enlighten me as what the American term is.
I looked up “bollard” and this is what I found: a thick, low post, usually of iron or steel, mounted on a wharf or the like, to which mooring lines from vessels are attached.
a small post to which lines are attached. (I didn’t see an American English equivalent … maybe just “dock post.”
I looked it up too before I made that comment and found exactly the same thing even after searching for the American equivalent and that’s why I asked you. 😞
Sorry, I couldn’t find anything else. At least I know what a bollard is! 🙂
Thanks for trying.
Oh, Marian, thanks for helping me start my day with a chuckle. I’ve done plenty of “conehead” things though no one particular one comes to mind. Too many to remember! Love your photo. We’ve all been there!
How’s that for a selfie! I’m glad you could start your day with a chuckle. I’m guessing you are hanging out with your memoir draft today. I have another round of proofreading ahead . . . probably 2-3. It’s grueling but gets us to our goal.
Thanks for posting again, Kathy!
I have more problems with curbs than I do with cones when I’m driving, but those poor cones. I suddenly have a great deal of compassion for those cones who take so much abuse. Never before have I thought of their plight. thank you for bringing it to my attention.
Your wry humor, always appreciated, Ally Bean. Most cones I’ve seen in our city look battered. Maybe the color orange makes them a target. Tee hee!
Being willing to fess up here and share that awesomely funny photo helps all of us feel like you are human too. 🙂 We share your pain. I did not really know they bounce back so quickly.
i didn’t know that either. The cones I hit didn’t look like the collapsible type, so I was positively shocked when they bounced back. Yes, I didn’t want to let my experience go to waste. Thus, the story, a cautionary tale to be sure. Thanks, Melodie!
We have all done things like that and as long as there was no damage to you, your vehicle or anyone else, it is a funny story. I once drove over a cement barricade and did damage to the bottom of the car. Hubby wasn´t too pleased. I also locked the keys in the car, three times within a two week period. Oops!! I could write a book on the conehead things I´ve done over the years.
I wonder if you were deep into writing when you’ve done these “conehead” things. It’s easier to get distracted when our minds are working on too many levels. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I think you get my drift. Thanks for sharing your goof-ups here, Darlene. We can relate!
I have never run over cones…but I did run over a 4L bag of milk once. My first time driving alone (with Little Guy). I set it down to buckle him in his car seat, completely forgot it up and backed up. Bang! I think the kid in the car next to me laughed so hard, he wet his pants. I was so humiliated, I drove home, took Little Guy in the house and burst into tears. Dad to the rescue…he went back to the store to buy milk.
We all make mistakes…it’s how we react to them that counts! Thank you for sharing your opera in the every day! 🙂
Ah, that’s what to call it, Opera in the Everyday! Your vivid description made me laugh. I can just picture the squashed bag of milk. So glad your Dad made things better! Thanks for sharing this, Jenn.
Marian — I love the photos you shared. Especially the one of you, “Mouth agape, wide-eyed and stunned.” The story? Priceless!
Egg-head doesn’t quite fit here. But “egg on the face” certainly does. I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Laurie!
My chuckle of the morning! Shared it with Hardy and we both had a good laugh. I had a bizarre encounter with my car and a tree which I described on a blog post in May 2016.
I felt really dumb about it. Some years ago a friend of mine started her car and smacked right into a parked car on the street and I always thought “how is that even possible?” Now I know, and I have become less judgemental about other people’s accidents! Thanks for sharing this one and being such a good sport about it!
I searched for your May 2016 post and couldn’t find it. If you don’t mind, I would like to post a link here so others can read about this bizarre encounter. Will you send this please?
Yes, as time goes by, I become less critical of mishaps, including my own. To err is human . . . Right?
My blog post of May 11, 2016, entitled “A Toothache in the Heart”. Below is the link:
Thanks, Elfrieda. Here is an easy link – http://ens-intransit.blogspot.com/2016/05/
A post definitely worth reading. I left a comment too. 🙂
Many years ago when my children were small, I taught them the proper names for their private body parts, without thinking to tell them that we do not say these words in public.
One day, as I was walking through a crowded mall with my youngest child, who was two or three years old at the time, he loudly announced: “Mama! My P_ _ _ _ Hurts!” He spoke very loudly in those days, because he’d had a lot of ear aches and could not hear very well.
“Ssshhh, don’t say that!” I said, in a stage whisper.
“WHY, MAMA?” he shouted, even louder than before. “IS P_ _ _ _ A BAD WORD?”
Heads were turning in our direction and people were openly laughing as I picked up my son and made a fast beeline for the nearest exit. I would far rather have run over a dozen orange cones!
My “baby boy” is now 38 years old. He lives in Lancaster, PA. I think I will call him in a bit and ask if he remembers this. 😂
You say your son is 38 years old. That means our society was more formal than it is now. Most likely, onlookers would be amused but not shocked as they may have been in the 1980s. By the way, I grew up in Lancaster County and taught at a Mennonite school in the city. Thank you for sharing your story, Linda Lee!
I love the story and the photo of you. When we admit our bonehead moments, we are admitting that we’re simply human beings. Everyone does things like that and I’ve done many. We are allowed to make mistakes and can have fun with them when we are honest about them, while keeping our sense of humor.
Yes, “To err is human.” To admit our foibles can be humorous.
I’m done with taking myself too seriously. Thanks, Joan, for the observation!
Now, that’s a funny story. And it’s funny how some stories are funny to others, but embarrassing to oneself! You’re the second blogger I read this week (the other is Pam, from Roughwighting) who has an “embarrassing” tale to tell. Maybe this is the week we are all allowed to be “dumb”? Maybe there should be such a thing as “Annual Dumb Day”?
I’m sure I’ve had plenty of occasions like this in my life, but for some reason, my memory fails me today. Yeah… just today. 🙂 But. I do recall as if it happened yesterday, how Mark fell into a cactus with his forehead exactly one year ago in New Mexico, chasing a dog to save it from a coyote encounter, and how we had to remove thick and thin, long and short needles from his face for hours with a make-up mirror at the house we were house and pet sittng. Sure, we can laugh about it now.
Oh, Liesbet, I’m glad you enjoyed my ha-ha/embarrassing tale. Your story about Mark confirms my impression of him: a noble, good man. Nonetheless, the story is funny because I can imagine the event in slo-mo: funny, then GASP! I hope there was no permanent damage.
Wow, what a story … thanks so much!
No permanent damage, luckily, but a good story to tell now. Funny thing is that we are returning to this house and these dogs (plus one) in April. 🙂
Oh, and I did remember a personal, embarrassing example that actually happened exactly on the day I left my previous comment… Mark and I were being interviewed about our frugal lifestyle (luckily not live) and in front of the camera I managed to make the stupidest mistake ever. “My English is pretty well,” I said! Seriously. In that sentence. It’s not that I don’t know the difference between “good” and “well”. Anyway, I do hope that part will get cut out.
The tiny gaff probably seemed trivial to the interviewer, but you felt self-conscious because English is your second language. Don’t worry, it will be edited out. Maybe you can laugh about it soon.
I envy you and wish I were bi-lingual. Thanks, Liesbet.
I’m laughing – not AT you but WITH you. This was not a cone-headed mistake, it was just a, hmmmmmm, an inadvertent mishap due to a friendship-laughter-bug, which generates tunnel vision and can be a bit hallucinatory. The day becomes brighter, the sky bluer, and no pumps are ever without gas.
I think I’d have an even better time if I saw a picture of you taking a picture of those cones. 🙂
Oh, just read Liesbets’s comments above. Yes, what is embarrassing to one, is just darn funny to the rest of us. xo
Ah, a reader of comments, you get even more mileage out of this post.
And … you’re right. I regretted not taken a photo of the smashed cones, but by the time I gathered what wits I had left, they stood erect.
A day or two later, I looked at internet images, but the “perfect” one required me shelling out $ 20.00. That’s where I drew the line. Besides, my readers have vivid imaginations. Thanks for all of your observations, Pam! 🙂
I thought your photo was perfect! 🙂 xo
Lol, that’s hilarious Marian! Now I know what you were alluding to in your comment on my blog – about ‘my mishap’ LOL 🙂
We both know there’s no story without conflict. No one wants to read about all the cats that didn’t get lost in Toronto – right? LOL
Lol truth! 😉
LOL! Glad cones and car were all unharmed and only your dignity took a slight dent…
Perfect description, Fiona! My dignity took a dent – yes – and I have a story to tell here. I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
That is so funny. I’ve done similar but not quite that. Always nice to find a kindred soul!
I’m glad you got a kick out of the story. We make lemonade with lemons – that’s what writers do.
Welcome, Jacqui. I’m so glad to meet you here. I’ve admired your work for afar. Thanks for reading and commenting today.
Your face is a picture Marian . The embarrassment of doing something wrong and every body staring at us sends us right back to being seven again and being found out doesn’t it 😂.
I can’t think of anthing at the top of my head I’ve done , apart from running over a couple of grannies ,a traffic warden and the odd vicar , my slate is completely clear 😉 .
I hope you heard my guffaw across the Atlantic, Cherry. I truly hope those grannies, the traffic warden, and vicar experienced a resurrection, like my cones. Ha ha ha! Marian xo
Oh dear. This story is like something I would do! Thanks for writing about it. It tells me that even with your creativity and talent, you’re just as human as I am! I have many dumb stories I could write…
If you read the other comments, we are all in the same boat, doing stupid things. Some have wrecked a car multiple times or lost keys. We’re only human! The lesson I’ve had to learn is to let go of the self-blame, beating myself down … Sometimes I even write a story about it! 😀
It’s nice to read a little human silliness in this all too horrifying world. And nothing broken at the end, except a little dignity. I’m glad there weren’t any huge excavation ditches near those cones. No matter how we try to keep it together and follow the rules (and traffic signs and warnings), we blow it. So far I haven’t run into anyone on a bicycle or a parent with a baby carriage, although I’ve had a few nasty collisions with deer on the country roads (and deer have no accident insurance). I’m glad you had fun with friends.
Thanks for framing the incident with a sweet reverie. I hope you are beginning to feel as keen as your sense of humor: “deer have no accident insurance” ~ indeed!
When I was a young driver returning from my stint at the bologna factory, I ran over a lamb that jumped right in front of me. At the time, I felt as sickened by the accident as though I had killed a human. I remember my legs feeling like lead as I walked toward the house to alert the family. In the end I’m sure they had to put the animal down. Such is life!
Hi Marian, just checking out your blog. Thanks for reading this normal catastrophe that we all have experienced one way or another.
Hi, Chuck, it’s SO good to see you here. Yes, a universal experience but with different details. I’m glad you can empathize. 🙂