Don’t @ Me: I Tried to Write a Masters-Level-Thesis About Construction Cones and Failed

  • Graphic Aiden Locke

Two years ago, a ten year plan was put in place to fix the city’s water infrastructure and its roads.

While everyone around me complained about the never-ending construction and traffic, I had a positive attitude. This, after all, is what the 376 year-old Montreal needs.

But things have changed for the worse, as I’ve developed an acute and perhaps irrational fear of construction cones. It’s a fear that’s coupled with a sick interest in them, and if you’ve spent enough time around me at Grumpy’s, you already know I can talk about cones for hours if you’d just let me.

When I first pitched the idea for this article, I didn’t exactly know where I was going with it. I just knew I had something important to say about cones. To get my creative juices flowing I even wrote a MTL Blog-esque draft of “The Ten Types of Concordia Students You’ll Meet” according to cones you might see around town.

I’m still convinced I have something important to say, and we already know cones have pierced quite abruptly into our collective psyche. The city has already funded performance art centered on the triangular terror, and if our city can claim any mascot, it wouldn’t be fair to suggest it could be anything other than a “charismatic” cone (like Youppi!, except more likely to make children cry).

The past few weeks, whenever I’d have insomnia, instead of sleeping I’d try to think of what sort of master’s-level thesis I could write about Montreal construction cones. I have a never-ending stream of pictures of Montreal’s cones on my phone, but despite long nights of study, my revelation about their significance has yet to present itself to my conscious mind. I even once set an intention to have the thesis of this article presented to me in a dream, and I really hoped I’d wake up the next morning with the polished idea. But no, it never happened.

It probably all began when I was working along Ste Catherine St. this summer. Every day for weeks I’d see the same neon green cone. It was always in the same spot on the street. It stood at knee-length and each time I saw it again my stress heightened. Why was it neon green? Why had it been left in the middle of Ste. Catherine St. for weeks on end? What intention what is meant to serve when originally placed there? Was I the only person who cared?

Just around the corner was another cone that had been crushed and abandoned in a alleyway. I spent a lot of time thinking about that cone and all the other abandoned cones. How many people are supposed to keep track of them? Because I can assure you whoever is supposed to is doing an awful job. I always see hoards of cones relegated to roads and sidewalks where there hasn’t been any construction for weeks or even months. If I call 311, can I report that one ought to be returned to the company that rents them to the city? Is it worth it, or will I just be laughed at?

Our city is littered with cones that attack us from every corner. I can’t escape them. No matter where I go, they follow me and taunt me with unanswered questions. There’s a vast variety in them, but why? Some are short, some very skinny. Sometimes they have a beige colour to them, other times kids come around and paint them with pastel purples, pinks and yellows. But my larger fear stems from my inability to escape them.

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