Sunday, June 17, 2007

What happens when one arrives at a toll plaza with no cash

I drove (R's Honda) into Midtown to see the play (more on that a little later) and knew I had only $10 in cash. I took the Queensboro in (no toll) and was quite sure that the Midtown Tunnel took toll only on the way into the city.

[That last $10 was given at the door to the folks at the Storm Theater. It cost $20. "Just pay us later!" they said, waving me in ... Oh and I thought I had another twenty, but I'd spotted that to R last night.]


As I emerge from the tunnel there's a toll plaza right ahead. EZ Pass only lanes, Cash only lanes. Crap! So I pull up to the far right cash window. "Ma'am, sorry. I have no cash on me. Y'all don't take credit cards do you?" She rolled her eyes. "None at all?" "Nope." She sighs. A deep long-suffering how-could-you-be-so-idiotic sigh. "I need to see your driver's license and registration," and then gets on the horn with someone. I squirm. There's now a line of cars behind me, all full to the brim with that legendary New York patience, no doubt. Presently a cop appears. "You have no cash, sir?" He takes my license and R's registration (thank goodness it was where it's supposed to be!) "Ok ... see that traffic island ahead? Pull up there out of the way of traffic on the white zebra stripes." He glances at the photo on my license and at me. They really don't look very similar, especially now that I have the beard. "Go ahead."

So I pull over. He's running R's tags and my license, I suppose. A few minutes later he lumbers over. "And whose car is this?" ... "My cousin's." "And what's their name?" I tell him. "Ok sir, here's what you will do ..." He hands me an envelope. "You put $6.50 in this envelope and mail it in and you and the State of New York are square again." "Yes sir!" ... "No cash, eh?" I explain that I gave my last ten dollar bill at the theater and I really thought the Midtown Tunnel was tol only one way. "Ah, you're thinking of the Lincoln Tunnel. Well, go on. Don't make a habit of it."


And no, no habitual absent-mindedness leading to lack of cash henceforth.

Oh yeah. Here's the kicker. R reminded me that there was an envelope stuffed with cash in the glove compartment. A friend had borrowed her car, gotten a parking ticket, and had given her the cash to pay it off. Of course, I didn't remember this!


[It's nice too that the State of New York gives a prepaid Business Reply Mail envelope to send in the deferred toll payment. Very nice of them.]


St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

They could make $ome buck$ on fee$ by letting you use an ATM specially provided on-site for such occasions.

Seems a bit short-sighted to insist on cash in an economy where people don't carry as much.

BTW, if you're getting scrutinized, is it time to go back to the goatee?

St. Izzy said...

On my day trip into the City, I found everyone much nicer than I remembered from previous trips. Twice locals who saw me peering and transit maps offered help (once I was just counting stops so I didn't miss mine while my nose was in a book), and when I tried to use a single ride ticket for a bus transfer (don't they come with transfers within 2 hours?), he waved me on board as I was digging for the cash.

However, it apparently costs $0.75 to leave New jersey on I-80. I wasn't expecting that, and had to pul the bike over into a "no stopping or standing" zone (behind some orange cones) to get cash out of the trunk.

850 miles, 12.5 hours driveway to driveway, and I'm home.

Gashwin said...

Welcome back! Signs of humanity in New York --- o mirabilia!