We finally got around to getting the van washed today. It was getting really grimy. I can’t remember the last time it was washed! I know it hasn’t been done since last month, and there has been so much salt and sand laid down over the last few weeks. There was a whole layer of grit to the van. It was getting annoying because I would rub up against it and get that nastiness all over my jeans or my hands or whatever. Ugh.
So it’s nice to have a clean vehicle again! It might even stay clean for a little while. I don’t see rain or snow in the forecast for the next few days.
I’ve always loved going through the car wash. When we used to live with my biological mother, we’d go every once in a while. It was fascinating to be sitting inside the vehicle while it was being deluged with water and soap. I was always amazed that we’d stay so dry inside! To my child mind, it was a little miracle.
There were lots of things that excited me when I was a kid. Going through the tunnels in southern Virginia was always thrilling. We would be driving along on the highway in bright sunshine, and we’d start descending down, down, down into a dark tunnel, lit by orange lights that seemed so dim after the bright sunlight. In one of the tunnels there were signal lights, just like the ones at intersections, only these were attached to the walls of the tunnels, and I’d always look to make sure they showed green. Then I’d look at the ones we’d already passed and make sure they were still red.
There are two tunnels that connect Portsmouth to Norfolk, the Downtown and the Midtown. Both of them carried tolls up until the early 90s, when the Downtown was expanded to two lanes in each direction (the Midtown is still one tunnel carrying one lane of traffic each way). When I was a kid, the toll booths were fascinating to me. I found it so interesting that you could simply throw a coin into those big metal baskets at a toll booth, the machine would know how much money you had thrown in, and the gates would be raised to allow you to proceed on your way. Why I’m so fascinated by the big metal toll-collecting baskets, I don’t know. But they hold a special place in my heart. I was so disappointed to see that they have all been removed from the Pell Bridge already before I could take a photo of them.
I know that we have to move forward with technology. People can hang flat-screen TVs above the mantle or hide them away behind screens instead of making them part of the decor with the floor-model TVs from the 1970s and earlier. Now we have EZ Pass transponders mounted in our cars so we don’t have to stop to throw a coin into the basket.
But there’s still a soft spot in my heart for what I knew as a kid. And you know, I think part of the reason that states are looking to have an EZ Pass-type system is so the tolls can go up and up and up. Tolls used to be a dime here, a quarter there, sometimes even 50¢. But the last time I drove down to DC, just getting across one of the bridges near New York City cost me $8! It’s easier to deduct $8 here, $5 there, $2 in this other place, than it is to take a wad of cash with you when you drive down the Turnpike. But I fear that it’s also going to make it easier for states to increase the price of tolls without us paying too much mind.
Kind of scary, if you ask me.