Years ago, I declared Oklahoma to be a superfluous state.
I stand behind that statement. Completely. Never more than now.
There are many roads that will take you from Michigan to Texas. Just point your car South and a little West. You’re bound to get there. Get to Dallas however you’d like and go South. Another 2 hours on I-35 and you’re in my driveway. It takes 19 hours no matter which way you go.
UNLESS I am on the night shift (which I was) and miss a turn (which I did) and you lose a half hour and 2 highways (it’s true). Curt was asleep, I was headed West to OK City, and the iPhone (read: gps) was in his britches.
Where are your signs? ‘Next Exit Contains Blah Blah’ does not give one enough concrete information to relocate themselves on a map at 2am. It was like entering a foreign country once we crossed into your state… no telephone lines, no signs, no people, no nuthin’. We drove for miles without knowing what town we were near, what exit number was approaching, or how far to the highway interchange. Most states use mile markers. And pictures. And arrows.
Speaking of which, Highway 44 takes a mean right turn- like, 90° turn- after Tulsa. If you’re on the 9pm-3am driving shift, pushing 80 mph, and writing blogs in your head, you can easily miss the change of direction ESPECIALLY SINCE THERE ARE NO SIGNS. Miss the exit? No problem. You just continue on a smaller and deceptively similar toll road, through miles of highway with no roadside lights, and across multiple reservations until you realize you are ALONE and completely off track 35 miles later.
And, let’s talk about these toll roads. Do you have any roads that are NOT toll roads? I spent the equivalent of my student loans on your toll system and, while driving 75 legally is nice, Mamma has bills to pay. I think maybe the lack of signs, numbers, and human workers is all a conspiracy to suck every last quarter out of lost travellers who JUST WANT TO GET HOME.
I tried to pay you. I really did. Several times. At the first un-manned booth, we managed to scrounge up the 80 cents in change and throw it in the catcher. I do mean ‘scrounge.’ We looked under car seats with children sleeping in them, ok? My light never turned green, and we were alone on a desert tollway at 2:02am, lost on Christmas night. We finally left. I felt awful. Criminal. Dirty. Cold.
Being out of change and hitting the 2nd tollbooth about 5 minutes later, we opted to use the bill changer provided. These are a fabulous idea, by the way. Though, they should work to be effective- particularly when you’ve given your entire HUMAN workforce the night off. I wrestled with it for about five minutes- check your security tape– before we finally just left. Thank you for the insanely loud warning bell that woke up everyone in the car AND GOD. We got to hear the same criminal! criminal! bell again 5 minutes later at yet ANOTHER unoccupied toll booth with ANOTHER change machine that was, yes, broken.
At that point, I was coming to terms with my life of petty crime. I tried the bill changer 3 times- in, oooooout, in, ooooout, IN? oooooooooout.
I left with no guilt.
Your security tape from 2:02am to 2:31am is no doubt filled with a crazy woman driving a blue Subaru in cropped linen pants, pumas, and a hooded sweatshirt- hood UP AND TIED because I was Antarctica cold. All the images are me, and I claim them without pause. I tried to pay you.
Mail me my ticket(s). I assume I’ll have to appear before a board of absentee judges and make a payment to a broken ATM machine. Whatever. I do appreciate the photo of my license plate crossing the line without paying. It’s a nice touch. Please accept this photo of my check.
I crossed you off my list long ago.
(which is the name the Mulder family historically gives when they have been detained by the law or, as it were, campus police)