Tuesday, March 13, 2012

gnostic tollbooth

The pic here looks more like Fall to me, but it was taken on Saturday. I liked the rich colors that remain in the leaves and the reflected light in the water.

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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.

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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.

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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."

8 comments:

George said...

If you were actually in Wisconsin, I would think that the word would be 'Packers' or 'Cheesehead'!

Happyone said...

Love the photo. We breeze right through the toll booths with ez pass. : )

Shammickite said...

Well, it's probably not the most inspiring job in the world, stuck in a tiny tollbooth all day in all weathers, with nobody to talk to except all those busy travellers who take only a few seconds to pass by. Not really enough time to strike up a meaningful conversation.

Pearl said...

What's the word?

Baby, the BIRD IS THE WORD!

:-)

Or so I have heard.

Happy Friday.

Pearl

Craver Vii said...

I've never followed sports much, George. I don't know green & yellow makes me see red.

Yeah, we're talking about purchasing one of those, Happyone. Right now there's a backup at the intersection of Frugal and Convenience.

That's why we always try to smile big and offer an encouraging greeting, Shammy. I gather from some of the responses, that it's appreciated. That one question stumped me, though.

(pensive) Oh... so it is. ;-)
Happy Friday, Pearl. Thanks for embedding that song in my head. It's hard to sing that one without dancing. Watch out, World!

lime said...

i agree that they have a thankless job and there is no need to make it worse by grumbling at them.

what's the word? i would have come up with something random and bizarre. kumquat, perhaps.

EG CameraGirl said...

Ha! You need to travel with my husband. The two of you would be quite the pair. My husband thinks it's his duty to cheer these men and women up. :) (Sometimes I want to shrink and hide under my seat.)

Craver Vii said...

Kumquat? Good word, Lime. I've never been very quick under pressure, though. I'll put a sticky note on the dash with one or two options for next time... just in case I need to produce a random word. ;-)

He sounds like my kind of people, CameraGirl! My wife has become used to it, but my kids are the ones who react like: "Dad... really?"