We went to North Carolina this past week end. We didn't have an easy pass we could use, something about license plate numbers changing and bureaucratic mubo-jumbo. Having struggled with about 10 easy pass violations as the after math of one misbegotten trip, we decided that it was better to leave it at home and try travel the "old fashion" way paying tolls to the toll collector.
One observation from the lane that is marked cash only. The cash line is never easy to find. In one state it is the green sign and in another state it is the red sign and in every state it is the booth with the long line of cars ahead of it. I have to admit that there are times when there is the tinge of panic when I am looking for the cash line that is the shortest. After all speed and reaching the destination is what toll road travel is all about. Has anyone every seen a beautiful sight on the New Jersey Turnpike? Ok, maybe it is the sight of the last toll booth as you leave.
I suppose the experiment went well until the next to the last toll on the Garden State Parkway. I got in the exact change toll line. Exact change means exactly that you need to have the 6 quarters that you need to get to the other side without a ticket. Now, nowhere did they say that it had to be in quarters. Who would have thought that they were serious? Top that off with you have to throw the 6 quarters into the toll booth collection basket...and you have a disaster waiting to happen...calling out Kurt's name.
So, I started throwing all the change that I had in the car at it...after all when you are committed you can't back up on this superhighway of life. Little did I know that my first quarter and a few pennies didn't make it to the collection basket but ended up on the ground. Sharon was looking for more change in her purse, as I thought of opening my door to see if I had some how missed with some of the change. I opened the door and saw the quarter that had not made the shot. I picked it up just as the toll booth light turned green and told me I had paid the fare. So I shot the quarter from the ground into the collection...it is always good to pay it forward when you can. Who knows maybe he was short a quarter.
Observations from my traveling without easy pass. Never look down on the slow line again. Cash is not a bad thing. Never pass up on a quarter that might be the one that you need at the exact change line...on the road there is always room for the absurd situations that grow patience and a sense of humor...not to mention respect for the lowly quarter.