Monday, August 07, 2006

Turnpike Jackass

Just because I have an Intelligence Quotient in the mid- to high-130s does not mean that I am intelligent. I have mentioned this before, but I'm pretty sure I have some sort of a severe learning disability that affects my ability to negotiate spatial relationships. For example, I can't look at someone and tell how tall they are, or what their height might be. I am bad with estimating crowds and distances, and even worse when it comes to measuring things like ounces or liters. Yes, when it comes to figuring out whether a shirt would fit, or if pants go with a shirt, I am quasi-retarted. It's not really my fault.

When you take this lack of ability to figure out where you are in the world and combine it with a very slight case of A.D.D., and add driving into the mix, you have a recipe for hilarious disaster. Such was the case with my soujourn home to Syracuse from the great state of Delaware (which was the first state, for those of ya'll who don't know).

Doug and Rachel and Catherine (their infant) and I had a glorious weekend of carousing, boozing and walking in the beautiful hot weather. Finally, regrettably, I had to go. I wanted to make sure I got onto Route 81 North before the sun went down and I got completely fucking lost.

I reached route 476 North at about 6PM, still with plenty of sunlight to be had. I saw a bunch of signs that the Penn Turnpike was coming up quickly, with lots of lanes and arrows pointing to areas where I could pick up a ticket and get on the 'Pike. But as the twisty road turned and zig-zagged, I somehow ended up on some sort of "express" lane which contained no ticket-machines. By the time I realized this, I had gone far too far beyond them and could not back up. It turns out I had reached a high-speed EZ-Pass lane, and because of my procrastination (go figure) I have not received my EZ-Pass yet, so I was traveling on the PA Turnpike completely ticketless. Oh the danger!

When I got to the end of the Turnpike, I flashed a $20 to the toll booth operator and told him I never got a ticket and how much do I owe him? I had expected him to simply shout out the maximum amount and I would just have to fork that over. But surprisingly, the toll booth operator (a younger guy wearing a backward baseball cap, of all things) took his time. He asked me where I had gotten on, how much it was going in the other direction, etc. He told me the fee would only be $5.25, which was the exact amount I had paid going into Delaware. He got out of his booth, quickly jotted down my license plate number and driver's license info, and then charged me the $5.25, made me sign a letter and then sent me on my way. Scanning the letter quickly, I saw the amount of $22.75, which I was sure was the amount I would be fined for traveling the 'Pike without a ticket.

But when I got on the road, I realized that what I was given was a one-time waiver, saying they would only charge me the normal fee this time, but if I ever did this again, I would get charged the total amount. WHAT? Was the state of PA giving me a break? The state I have always railed against for being such a horrible drive? I will no longer refer to you as Pennsyl-tucky, great Keystone State, for I truly do have a friend in thee.

Unless I get a bill for $22.75 in the next 6-8 weeks. Then it's ON.


bojangles said...

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh in the west, Philadelphia in the east, Alabama in between. I sorta like it, too.

tt said...

Keystone state-keystone beer. That's why, Bill.