Oh! Finally! I can use the EZ-Pass I bought in a grocery store and registered from my phone in the parking lot 600 miles and 10 months ago.
Most Henry County residents, it would be safe to say, have very few opportunities to use an EZ-Pass. That’s a little device you stick to your windshield, and when you go onto a toll road, you can drive through most lanes rather than stop and pay an attendant or, worse, have to drop cash into a machine, when you might not be prepared with the right amount of change.
It’s amazing how it works: First, you buy the device, which is plastic block about the size of a small hotel sample hand lotion, for about $35. You register that device on their website, putting in the tag numbers of the vehicles you want to use it for, and your bank account information. Then you stick it on your dashboard up high. A camera posted well above the height of cars and trucks reads from your device on your windshield a UPC code no bigger than what you’d find on groceries. When you use up the money you’ve paid on it, the EZ-Pass gets more money out of your account to keep you stocked up on toll fees.
Optimistically, I registered my EZ-Pass to both my car and my sweetheart’s pickup truck. We could bring my EZ-Pass in his truck on all of the many fun little getaways we’d be taking.
Since I bought it, we’ve been on exactly one fun little getaway total, and I totally forgot about bringing along the EZ-Pass.
Then last week as I was driving into Richmond, I saw signs that a toll road was coming ahead.
The EZ-Pass! I remembered it! It’s supposed to be in my glove box! I never had stuck it to my windshield because I wanted it to be easy to swap between the car and the truck.
While driving, I opened the glove box and started riffling through it. Things started dropping to the floor of the car – ChapStick, tissue packet, school supplies, a little notebook.
I felt around some more. I was approaching the EZ-Pass lane and couldn’t find the EZ-Pass. I shoved the car manual out and then shoved out something else big and then another thing and suddenly things were cascading down to the floor of the car, but no EZ-Pass.
Carefully, heart heavy with disappointment because I had wasted my one chance, I changed over a few lanes to get into the cash payment lane.
I arrived at my destination with an embarrassingly messy car. I was going to an event hosted by fancy garden club ladies, and I am a garden club lady myself, but I sure wasn’t going to drive up looking like one. I parked far away from everyone else.
Later, I got the car back right. The EZ-Pass was right there in the glovebox.
I sure hoped I’d go through another toll road on my way back and get to use it!
The next day, I was prepared with the EZ-Pass in the cupholder at my side. My heart thrilled a little when I spied the sign for toll road ahead.
The car slowed as I approached the EZ-Pass lane. I held up the EZ-Pass against the windshield – and fumbled. The windshield is sloped, so the EZ-Pass fell inwards.
It was too late to switch lanes to get into the cash payment lane, so I had to retrieve the EZ-Pass. I slowed down and grappled for the device. However, I had been going in third gear but had to slow down to first gear level to avoid running through the reader without my EZ-Pass. That combination of actions required three hands, but I only had two.
I held up the device, and the car sputtered through the lane reader in the nick of time, the line of cars behind me all jammed up together.
Shortly later I came across another toll lane.
I was ready! I held up the EZ-Pass and slid right through.
The third time is the charm.
Now I feel like a sophisticated big city traveler. I’ve used my EZ-Pass for the first time. That’s a start from a little ole gal from Henry County.
Next, I just have to figure out how to take an Uber, take a Lyft, catch a taxi ride …