If I get a ticket in the mail from Dallas, I want everyone to understand. I am not a toll booth runner. I pay my tolls. When a very young driver living in Massachusetts and traveling the Pike, I learned exactly how to toss coins into the basket when passing through a toll booth. I come to a full stop. Really.
So why is it when on the way home from the ACFW conference book signing in Dallas, I get an evil toll booth? It happened like this:
On the way to the hotel, we had no change. CJ rode shotgun (he will not drive in Dallas, and I don't blame him). He'd pull dollar bills from my purse every time I drove up to a "Change Made" toll booth lane. I'd hand the real, live attendant a dollar and get change back. No problem.
Just over two hours later, we were on our way home. I think I was giddy after just being with my writing friends for that short a period of time. Anyway, I was babbling about who I saw and what we talked about, and reminded CJ of this one and that one I'd introduced him to, and told him sorry for forgetting to introduce him a few times, when it happened. I found myself too far from a "Change Made" lane. No problem. We had quarters, plenty of them. I knew it.
So I stopped at the toll basket, and CJ handed me three quarters. I chucked them into the basket and waited for the light to turn green. Nothing.
All during our trip up and back on the toll road, we'd seen signs reminding us that we were being monitored electronically. Translated: "Run a toll booth or speed, and we'll getcha!"
Then I noticed a lit-up sign above the basket: Coin Reject.
Good grief. I grabbed a few more quarters and chucked 'em. No green light.
I panicked. "More quarters!" I flung more into the basket, and repeated this a few times. I lost count of the quarters. By now traffic was backing up behind us.
"Go, Honey, just go!" CJ yanked my purse away. "They're not going to get you!"
"But the light's not green!" I squealed.
"You put in at least twice the amount for the toll."
Saying a frantic prayer, I jammed on the accelerator and submitted to my husband.
But no, I'm not really a toll booth maniac. The funny part is, every time CJ tells this story of his wild-eyed wife at the toll booth, the amount of money I tossed into the basket increases. Just like a fish tale.
I sure missed the whole conference experience this year. But next year, I'll be back. And maybe the toll booths will be fixed.