Monday, May 19, 2008

The Stir Star Awards (Toll Road Division)

For those of you who don’t have toll roads or may not even know what they are, please indulge me. Read on. You might recognize a stirring performance that you’ve seen elsewhere.

The guy in the full service pay-lane that waits until he is stopped in front of the toll booth before he leans over to fish out his wallet; and, then he has to dig around in it to come up with the appropriate folding money.

Why am I in the full service lane anyway? Ya gotta be here in Houston to know. At some toll plazas (like the West Little York, on the West Sam Houston) if you are getting on the toll road at Little York, to go south, you are barred from using the main automatic lanes. And, the toll road authority brain trust has decided to only install a single automatic lane for EZ-Tag and that usually backs up beyond belief. Thus, if you want to get home while supper is still hot, it is quicker to go to a different lane. Sometimes the full service lanes look like they’re moving faster. That’s when I end up there.

Now, why is it such a reach for me to expect a person to plan ahead just a little … and BE CONSIDERATE (you clod!) of the dozen cars behind you. We don’t need to watch you finger through a wad of bills in your wallet while you select THE special dollar that you’ve been saving for years, just in case you ever have to pay a toll. Get that shit out before you even start to drive, dunce boy.

Taking your foot off the gas at the electronic toll gates, over on the EZ-Tag-only side.

Oh, all right, these people probably only deserve 1 stir, but this is a pet peeve of mine.

And, admittedly, there are signs that tell you to slow down and even signs that tell you to slow to 45 but this is the only State on Earth where some fools actually do it. Some states (e.g., Illinois) have even built the automatic lanes far away from the cash lanes, separating them by berms and trees. They command you to not slow down.

So, WHY do so many Houstonians slow down?

Are you afraid that the Tag reader won’t be able to read your Tag? It works on radio waves, Einstein. They’re travelling at more than 186,000 miles per second. Do you really think you can drive fast enough so that the speed of light waves cannot get down to your car and then be received in the return signal?

Scared of other drivers changing lanes right up at the readers and that they then might side-swipe you? We’re only changing lanes because people like you are impeding the flow of traffic when you slow down, pudding head.

And, what’s with you people at the Westheimer Plaza? What is so special about your fears and foibles that you need to slow down to stop & go for the automatic lanes? Who starts that mess? Please, some cowboy, shoot them.

Stop it. Just stop it. Keep your stinking foot smashed down on that stinking little narrow pedal on the right.

On the side of the toll road where EZ is mixed in with Full Service, getting into the EZ-Tag-Only lane when you don’t have an EZ-Tag.

Are you truly that unaware of your surroundings? Or are you just a mega-turd that thinks he’s getting to the head of the line … screw the rest of the world.

What happens, is that all of the lanes are filled up with long lines of cars needing to pay cash. In our single lonely EZ-Tag lane, the traffic usually moves significantly faster because we don’t have any clown digging under his seat for loose change.

Note to HCTRA: I’ve written to you jack-wads twice about leaving gates down across EZ-Tag lanes. One of your little minions even admitted that she couldn’t think of any reason why they are left operational. TAKE THOSE DAMNED GATES OUT!!!!!

Back to the story …

So, while we are moving reasonably steadily (5 mph,) down the long canyon created by lines of cash-pay cars, inevitably some anti-Mensa either doesn’t notice that he’s in the EZ-Tag Only lane or he’s trying to get to the head of the class. Either way, he then tries to push his way out of the Tag lane and into one of the cash lanes.

But it can’t be done. The cash lanes are at a dead stop and they only creep along one car length at a time. We, then, are trapped behind this clever person, building up our own traffic backup.

Please, oh please, give me Sidewinder missiles on my next car.

Stopping fully in front of the toll gate in an EZ-Tag lane when you have an EZ-Tag.

Ohmigod! What are you thinking!?! Oh … right. You haven’t the capacity to think.

Very close to these people are the folks that make a mistake in lane selection and then not only stop, but they begin to back up. I’m not making this up.

Patricia and I were driving back home one day, at about 75 mph (oh, get over it). She was driving and talking to me. I was lazily semi-focused on the road ahead as I listened. Something caught my attention. Something didn’t look right in the traffic way up ahead at the toll plaza.

Once the old synapses processed the message and I shouted, “Car backing up!” Pat barely had time to react. She got into a different lane and we went by that 7-stir. As we sped away down the road, I watched him in the side view mirror, expecting to see a fireball as he got run over by an 18 wheeler but, alas, no fireworks that day.

That’s the rant for the day. Many of the wackos that I mentioned in earlier posts about Houston drivers are doing their surface street tricks up on the toll roads, also. Sometimes it is just too bizarre to even award stirs.

Why are they breathing my air?

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