Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve ranted about how much I hate people.  Not that I’ve stopped hating them — it’s just that my ever-evolving sense of “island time” has raised the bar.  It takes a little longer for me to spew the hate than it used to.

KC and I took my car up to Tampa last night to see the Lightning host KC’s Devils.  The Lightning won, and former Islander, Dwayne Roloson, played a good game.  Another former Islander, Sean Bergenheim, is also on the Lightning, and he was another reason I rooted for them.

I’m very glad I didn’t end up having to work in Tampa.  It’s a 50-something mile drive each way, and downtown seems to be perpetually under construction.  And the signage is very, very, VERY bad (it makes New Jersey signage look good, and that is not easy).  We were promised free parking, but that lot was full and we ended up having to pay $15.

We took I-75 to get there, and found not a single sign telling us how to get back home.  We did, however, see a couple of signs for I-275. We even saw one that promised to take us towards the South, and so we innocently trusted the sign and made the turn.

Unfortunately, that was the only sign with an arrow heading South and, after a good 20 minutes alternately spent cursing and laughing (that maniacal laughter one does to avoid crying), we headed onto I-275 North with the intention of getting off at the next exit and turning around.  The exit for which we were in the exit-only lane led directly to MLK Boulevard (Road?  Street?  Avenue? who cares?).  We looked at each other and realized we could be having a true-life Bonfire of the Vanities experience, but luckily all it required was a U-turn to get us headed in the right direction.

But I digress.  The above is a good reason to dislike people (the city planners, the construction workers, etc., of Tampa), but it’s  not necessarily a reason to hate them.  My reason to hate them came a little later in the drive home.  We were cruising along the interstate when we approached the toll plaza for the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  I got into the far-right lane because there was only 1 car in it, as opposed to 3 or 4 in the other lanes.  We sat there for at least 5 minutes, watching the toll-taker do something that looked suspiciously like filling out forms.  Then the car in front pulled up a few feet and the toll-taker wrote down the plate number. They futzed around for long enough that KC threatened to reach over me to honk the horn, proving without a shadow of a doubt that, even though you live in Paradise, and even though you can take the girls out of New York (or, in KC’s case, New Jersey), you really cannot take the East coast ‘tude out of the girls. When I finally pulled up to the booth, I asked the man what happened.  Apparently, the person in front of us had no money, and that he was the 3rd person of this man’s shift who had no money.  This is insane.  I can understand not having exact change (especially if you’re not from the area and have no way of knowing), but this driver didn’t have any money at all on him.  It’s not like he’s on the GW Bridge and they want $8.  The Skyway is only $1.  How hard is it to come up with $1?   How can you get in your car and drive on a major thoroughfare late at night with no cash at all on you?  To say that we were gobsmacked is putting it mildly.

How much do you want to bet that he’ll get the bill in the mail and ignore it?

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