Bear with me – this gets to a point.  Promise.

Suppose we are on a toll road, and we get to where we have to pay.  We have E-ZPass, so we expect to get through a little quicker.  We get in the “E-ZPass-only” lane.

We notice something weird about this lane.  It has a swing-gate.  Why would the lane have a swing-gate?  If every car coming through has an E-ZPass, they pay by driving up.  The whole idea is to keep things moving.  If the E-ZPass has no balance on it, let ’em go!  The State can deal with them later!  Keep things moving, right?

Now we see something that can ruin a nice afternoon.  The car two spots ahead of us does not have an E-ZPass.  The swing gate won’t move.

And the driver up there is waving around a ticket and a $10 bill out his window!  So get this: he got into the E-ZPass line because it was shorter and moving faster.  The GIANT PURPLE LIGHTED SIGN over the lane, and the TWO GIANT PURPLE PAINTINGS ON THE ROAD SURFACE didn’t clue him in that he was in an E-ZPass-only lane.  And he knew he did not have an E-ZPass when he entered the road: he took a damn ticket!

But please, don’t think this is just an isolated idiot.  No, by golly this is expected.  This is typical behavior in our great nation.  How do we know this?  Well, although not a statistically significant sample, it is a fact that on our recent round trip to Chicago we went through four E-ZPass lanes with these swing-gates, and in three of the four, there was a dingaling in front of us who offered a ticket and cash, not an E-ZPass.  But as bad as anything a “three out of four” random occurrence may imply about the state of typical Americans’ stupidity and complete lack of consideration for anyone else, here’s something much worse.  Much worse!  Because, in each of these three cases, there was someone stationed in that toll lane to accept it.

Think how many people had to drive up to an E-ZPass toll gate and just sit there honking like entitled pimples on the ass of humanity until the managers at these toll plazas realized that it was actually worth it to put a worker at those supposedly automated gates, just to keep things moving.

If you can think about that and still harbor optimism for Pumpkin-land, well done, you!  Well done!