.Driving up to Wisconsin Saturday, we passed a few toll booths. I don't know whether people give them a rough time about the prices, but my observations of human nature suggests that there are grumbles-a-plenty from lots of travelers. I sympathize with people who are frustrated at the ever-increasing fees from a charge that was initially supposed to be temporary, but the person inside that spacious, luxurious and stimulating booth is not the person who decided to overcharge us. I see no reason to take our frustrations out on them.
.When I greeted the attendant at the first booth, I reported that the vehicle in front of me had a bumper sticker from a rival sports team and asked whether the vehicle was penalized with a doubled fee. The attendant smiled and said, "Yep, got it." I like how he played along, and my passengers laughed.
.Nothing clever or snappy sprang to mind at the next booth, but I greeted the attendant with a big smile and enthusiastic, "Hi, Robert!" Normally, the attendant echoes back some of that cheer with a simple "Have a nice day," accompanied by a freshly cracked smile. He said something different. He said, "What's the word?" No one told me that I had to be ready with "the word." I thought all I had to do was hand him a couple of bucks. Now there's a PASSWORD, too?!! What an odd greeting. What's next, a secret handshake? That's too much pressure. I couldn't think a quick to answer that. On the way back to Illinois, I was so afraid of not knowing the secret password, that I just stuck to a perfunctory, "Hello."