Tolls and Trolls

I skipped to the mail box this morning expecting to find the handful of partial manuscripts I volunteered to judge for the Golden Heart Contest. I received the list of titles right after Christmas and they sound fantastic. I can’t wait to start reading and judging! So skipping I went…

Only to find a small white envelope that looked like junkmail at first. It was from LES. Sent from New York. Sound fishy yet? Yeah, I almost garbaged it as a credit card offer too. I open it out of sheer curiosity and find that it’s not a credit card offer at all.

It’s a fine from a toll I obviously ran in 2005! 2005! Can you believe it? I couldn’t. To rub salt in the wound, I accidently ran the toll in a car I no longer own and I remember the incident vividly.

There was traffic on the Benicia-Martinez toll. Loads of traffic. I saw a green light marking an open lane on the far left. I veered left. Only when I was a close distance to the toll did I notice the forbidden sign: Fast Trak. Oh no. There were too many cars beside me to merge back to the right. People were irritated and honking at my incessant turn signal. I was irritated at my lack of foresight and my inablity to merge back to a lane where I could pay my measely $3.00.

So there I sat, holding $3.00 extended out the window, to a booth that held no person. Just an automated machine granting access to a bridge I hadn’t paid to cross. Great. I think I remember thinking (if that makes sense), When the $3.00 bill comes in the mail, I’ll just pay it. It was an honest mistake.

But now the bill is no longer $3.00, although this is the first mail I’ve received regarding the toll skip. I’m required to pay $73.00! $3.00 for the toll and $70.00 for the first offense fee. Ridiculous. If I don’t pay now, they’re going to deduct $100.00 from my taxes…or so they reported.

Yeah. I’m irritated. Can you see my grimace? If I ever go over that toll again I think I’m going to be holding a special, loving finger out the window instead of my money. Chew on that.


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