Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Tollway Adventure

I admit it: I can be a very annoying person. For the reader’s edification, I will now dissect one particularly irksome aspect of my personality and trace an infuriating habit back to its source.

I refuse to buy an I-pass. For those of you who live outside Illinois, an I-pass is a transponder which allows you to drive on the tollway without stopping. In order to buy an I-pass, you have to submit your credit card number so funds can be charged to it, and you also have to give them your driver’s license number. The Cynic-At-Large smelled a burgeoning surveillance tactic, so I said no thanks. They didn't have I-passes when the following incident occured, and if it had not happened I may not have awakened my Inner Cynic in the first place and bought the darn I-pass.

Several years ago, as I was stopped at an automatic toll booth I threw in the required amount of money but the gate wouldn’t rise, even when I treated the receptacle to a few extra, undeserved coins. I had to back up, go to a manned booth two lanes over and explain to the agent that I put my money in but it wasn’t registering and the gate stayed down. The amount at the time was $.50. The agent all but accused me of lying, saying, “How do I know you put the money in? You can't prove it.”


Like I was going to go to all that trouble for 50 cents. On the other hand, I was stuck and I needed to get where I was going before Alzheimer’s set in.

So I gave the jerk five dimes and demanded a receipt.

Now when I drive on the tollway, I always go to a manned booth, pay my tolls in nickels and dimes, and ask for a receipt, just in case The Man isn't absolutely positive I paid.

Just wanted to explain why you're stuck behind my car on the tollway. Now you know.

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