Road Tolls

Jaron Summers
2345 Twit Rd
LA, CA 90077
November 15, 2001

The Toll Roads Violations Dept
Box 50190
Irvine, CA 92619

Dear Sirs,

There is no question that my wife, Kate, and I were driving on your toll road at the time and place indicated on our recent “Notice of Toll Evasion.” I fully and freely admit this. My wife continues to harbor doubts.

May I explain?

We frequently travel back and forth between Los Angeles and San Diego and had heard of your toll road, had often seen it advertised, but when we checked recent maps, we could not find the elusive route. (The reason we visit San Diego is because I have extremely high blood pressure and there is a clinic in Lemon Grove that has given me some relief.)

Anyhow, on 8/12/01 we were traveling north and we spotted a toll road sign lauding the advantages of your short cut. Low on fuel, we exited the main road to buy gas; when we got back on the freeway we had missed the toll road.

Nevertheless, south of Newport Beach we again exited the 405 and were directed by a gas station attendant (whose first language was Fijian, French or possibly Pig Latin) to negotiate one of the most convoluted routes ever driven to gain access to any road. To verify this, you can easily locate our guide since he must be the only gas station attendant in the area suffering from what medical doctors refer to as a lazy eye. His other eye was missing.

Half an hour later, we noted a blizzard of signs that proclaimed FasTrak. Plus, we encountered much traffic. Plus Kate was yelling at me because she was supposed to be the navigator and I may have slightly raised my voice (and blood pressure) when I pointed out how she had failed me for the 7007th time in our marriage.

I assumed that FasTrak indicated you needed to have exact change. Of course, Kate didn’t have exact change so I was compelled to fumble out my wallet while avoiding a Stupid Sunday driver who had cut in front of us.

Then my wife yelped that perhaps we should drive through the tollgates on our right. Often, she suggests inane behavior on my part because she does not think straight. I either disobey her or chance a serious collision. I chose to ignore Kate because — as I explained to her at over 60 miles per hour — it would make NO sense to slow down and crawl through the tollbooths if we already had exact change — but by then the tollbooths were behind us.

My wife, in her usual contrary manner, claimed that we were not on the toll road. She insisted we had missed the toll road. I said we were on the toll road, in the Fast Track lane.

“Then we have to pay, you nincompoop,” she said. “Don’t you call me a nincompoop, you brat,” I said. “Why am I a brat?” she demanded. “Because,” I said, “anyone who thinks straight would realize that if you have exact change and you are in the FasTrak, you pay when you EXIT. That way you don’t have to slow down.”

She told me I was nuts.

I almost hit a damn fool on a motorcycle who was leering at us. (I feel you should ban motorcyclists from your toll road, if you want my opinion, but you probably don’t. I don’t care.) Who can figure out what a FasTrak is? I assume it’s an inane word play on Fast Track. Well, why don’t you say so instead of making people decipher gobbledygook phrases at 70 miles per hour on a road that has no exits? What next will you people hatch — scrambling the damn letters on signs of key cities to amuse travelers?

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cuss. Still, while we’re on the subject, I don’t think much of your logo featuring a pair of crooked lines. I thought your friggin’ toll road was supposed to indicate a straight line.

But I digress. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry!

When we returned to the 405, I told my wife that we had been on the toll road but no, she insisted we had missed it. I pointed out that we had saved what appeared to be half an hour. She said it was because of Sunday traffic.

Between you and me I was puzzled why there were no collection booths at the end of the road where people on the Fast Track could pay. You might think I’m making this up but lots of roads back east have toll booths at the end of the journey. Maybe since it was Sunday it was a free day. We are from Los Angeles and not familiar with the quaint laws of Orange County, if we were in Orange County. If not, please excuse the last sentence.

Until today Kate continued to insist that I had missed the toll road. Using her animal cunning, this woman convinced all our friends of her strange notion and pretty near had me persuaded.

When your letter arrived, I triumphantly showed it to my wife and asked her to please reassess who was right. Apologies were in order. You guessed it. She went bonkers.

But the fact remains, we did everything we could to find your toll road. We couldn’t figure out what your gobbledygook signs meant, and even though we had exact change in our fists, we couldn’t pay you without killing ourselves.

We did NOT try to evade your toll. If anything, you should have sent us a commendation for laboring so vigilantly to figure out how your bizarre toll road functions.

I could write more but my wife is again pestering me to take my blood pressure medicine.


Jaron Summers

P.S. — I thought about promising to retry your evil toll road if you waived my fine. But I’ve about had it with your insane short cut. It has caused irreparable harm to my marriage, my blood pressure, and what little sanity I still cling to.

All of you people, along with the makers of your stretch of toll road, require public hanging. I would delight in attending such a festivity and that single event would be the one circumstance that could cause me to reconsider using your infernal toll road.

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