Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Zany Hijinks

Last night DLang and I rented a car to return a shelf to Ikea in New Jersey. The visit to Ikea itself was mixed - returning stuff there kind of sucks. There's a take-a-number system involved, which cost us our dinner of Swedish meatballs and ligonberry sauce, although we did enjoy 50¢ hot dogs on the way out. Interesting tidbit about food at Ikea: A friend of mine's wife is Swedish, and she claims that the food at truckstops in Sweden is all as good as Ikea food, which makes me happy because a) it confirms that Ikea's Swedish food is authentic, and b) it validates my belief that Ikea food is good. On the way back, I missed the ramp for the NJ Turnpike North, so we decided to drive through Staten Island and take the Verrazano Bridge. Zany hijinks ensued.

Part 1: As we drove past a sign for the Verrazano

"Wow, D! This route is awesome! It's so fast!"

"Gillian, you have no basis for making that statement."

"What are you talking about? We just passed a sign!"

"That sign had no information about distance. The last time I drove this way it took half an hour to get through Staten Island."

Minutes pass. We crest a hill and see the Verrazano in all her glory.

"Am I allowed to get excited now? Or do I have to wait until we're actually *on* the bridge?"

Part 2: Going through the toll booth

"Here's money for the toll."

"Give me enough to pay for the next person's, too."


"Give me $12. We'll do a good deed and pay for the next person's toll. It'll be nice!"

"Babe, no."

"Oh come on. I'll pay you back."

"I'd rather have the cash."

"We'll be like that person's Secret Santa!"

"Fine. You're going to blog about this, aren't you?"

"You're cute."


Anonymous said...

Right after I first moved to California I drove across the Golden Gate bridge and was told the person in front of me had paid my toll. I was already in love with California and I think that cemented it.

During our visit to SF in November we crossed the Golden Gate bridge and I was really excited that I could pay for the person behind us. The toll booth person didn't even blink, it must happen all the time.

Gillian said...

I'm pretty sure it doesn't happen so frequently in Staten Island. When I told the toll booth person that I'd like to pay for the person behind me, she said, "There's nobody behind you." I said, yeah, that's fine, just apply it to whoever comes next." She appeared quite befuddled by the whole exchange.

Anonymous said...

Then it was even better for the person who came next because they were probably so surprised.

Brianna said...

am I a horrible cynical person for suspecting that the toll operator jut kept the money?

Becca & Brian said...

It is pretty commonplace here. I have no scientific proof of this, only personal observations, but I think it was more common on the Bay Bridge than the GG Bridge. The latter has been $5 for about a decade, while the former has been only $2 for most of that time (though now about to go to $4).

When I used to commute daily over the Bay Bridge, it happened to me 3-4 times in a 6 month period and I saw it happen around me more than that. 'Never once happened to me during my GG Bridge daily commutes. However, to some degree, I think FasTrak has fucked up anyone's proclivity for bridge altruism.

Re: Toll takers keeping the toll. I don't doubt for a minute that it's been done, though I've definitely witnessed honest toll takers in action. Once you're aware of this phenomenon, you tend to pay close attention to all the cars near you in line at the toll booths. It used to be easy to spot playing out among the cars in front of you (pre-FasTrak days of course).