Dear Guy In The White Car Who Meant Well And Was Just Trying To Be Honest,
Hi there and thank you for choosing the Great State Of Maine for your weekend get-away. We surely do appreciate your tourist dollars and how you give us something a little different to look at on the way home from work or shopping. But, you would do well to study up a bit before trying to do something tricky like get on the toll highway. Clearly you need a little tutorial before attempting this feat again. Let me see what I can do to help you out.
Maine is on the EZ Pass system. This is a handy way for those of us who commute regularly to avoid having to stop for that pesky ten seconds that it takes to hand change to the toll guy. We can use any lane we darned well please because we have paid for the privilege. Well, assuming, that is, that we have a plan that covers the entire Turnpike. Which I do not. And this has led to some problems at times, I will admit, but we are talking about you not me right now so let's just stay focused, shall we?
Now, where was I? Ah, yes! EZ Pass... Now, the lanes are pretty clearly marked. The one with the giant sign that is bigger than my entire condo which says, "EZ Pass only, all others prohibited" is for us. We are the Chosen Ones. But, I can understand how you might miss it. You do, after all, have to look up slightly. It's an easy mistake. And the Maine scenery being what it is, I can certainly understand how you could get distracted and all. I'm sure that this is the explanation for your having found yourself in the lane that is designated for those of us with the electronic pass to freedom. I did pause to wonder, though, how one with a New York license plate has never once been confronted with an EZ Pass situation...
I applaud your honesty in refusing to pass through the toll gate to the open road that is the Maine Turnpike. You are truly a gentleman of the Olde School who does not like to take advantage of the taxpayers here in our lovely state. Very thoughtful of you.
But, your decision to stop rather than go created something of a problem for those of us where were very, very tired after a full day of teaching, an unexpected long meeting after school and the need to purchase the bribes for the children who managed to behave themselves for most of this week. We were kind of expecting to just drive through the magic scanner thingie and be on our way. We were unprepared for your brake lights. We were even less prepared when you decided to back up and try to do the right thing by going to a regular toll lane. The seven of us who were behind you were left to back up frantically and take on something of an "every man for himself" sort of mentality. Again, I see how you meant well. But, to say that your plan backfired would be an understatement. Big time...
May I offer a suggestion? It may sound radical, but I can assure you that it does, in fact, work. Next time you are in this position, why don't you just drive through? Now, bear with me here...I know that this sounds like a caper of the most nefarious sort. But, I can assure you that the Maine State Police are really rather busy and that they are not monitoring every single toll booth. And, if it is really bothering you, you can call the Maine Turnpike Authority at your earliest convenience, confess your sin and offer to make it right. They will be eager to help you. You don't even want to know how many times I goofed and went through the wrong lane back when I was driving a rental during my car repair woes. Trust me. As one who was raised in the fine tradition of guilt as a means for ensuring better behavior in the future, it is easier to live with the knowledge that you have snuck onto the highway than you might think.
I also know (by virtue of the fact that I work with someone who was recently in this situation) that it is far less expensive to pay a ticket for accidentally going through the wrong lane than it is to be charged with obstructing traffic. Or causing an accident. That is rather expensive as well.
So, dear sir, to recap: Your intentions? Noble. Your actions? Maddening and rather dangerous. The solution? Suck it up, drive through and deal with the guilt that will plague you for far less time than you think. A better option? Look up. There is a sign that will tell you which lane is open to you.
And, as always, I hope you enjoy your visit. Please feel free to roam our state to your heart's content. Just see if you can't do it while going forward. Backward isn't working for you. Or me. Or anyone else...
Best wishes for a lovely vacation,
When not advising the tourists on the best way to handle dangerous situations like going through a tollbooth, I sometimes like to pick up my mail. And I'm so glad that I took a minute to do that today. Lookee what came for little ol' me from Wooly Wonka!!!