There will be no grand whoop-dee-doo Monday when the eastbound Tacoma Narrows Bridge turns 5 years old. No 5K fun run. No vintage Lincoln Touring Car carrying proud state politicians. And certainly no “turn back the clock” promotion offering drivers $1.75 tolls circa 2007.
No, Monday will be just another day at the office for bridge commuters. Another occasion to suck it up and pay $4 through the magic doodad on your windshield. Another chance to be a good citizen of the Good to Go! generation.
Another day to join the docile herd of latte-sipping lemmings.
And yet deep down in your stomach, it gnaws at you – a feeling of unease.
Health professionals have no name for it. But if gephyrophobia is the fear of bridges and kleptophobia is the fear of being ripped off, let’s call your condition gephyrokleptophobia: the fear of being ripped off while crossing a bridge.
A sense of injustice starts a slow boil. You ask yourself why the state raised your tolls so much this month – more than the increases given to the tollbooth troglodytes and to the pay-by-mail slackers – when electronic tolling is the most cost-effective system.
Sure, you like having the bridge-crossing equivalent of the Disneyland FastPass. But it’s not as if Splash Mountain awaits on the other side. You’re getting charged 4 bucks to go to Tacoma, for Pete’s sake!
What’s next, a toll in both directions to cover the state’s growing bridge debt payments? Now that would be a dirty double cross.
Express yourself: A part of you wants to rise up in protest, like the people of Scotland who spent a decade fighting a toll bridge between the mainland and Skye Island. They refused to pay, marched behind bagpipers, brewed and drank Extortion Ale – and succeeded at getting the tolls removed in 2004.
You, however, aren’t as bold (or as cheap) as a Scotsman, and you don’t own a kilt.
So here are other ways to express your angst on the fifth anniversary of the toll bridge opening:
- Honk five times at midspan.
- Use the tollbooth plaza for a change. Pay the attendant in pennies.
- Dress up like a troll, stop pedestrians on the bridge and demand that they pay you a toll.
- Drive eastbound on the old bridge, for old-times’ sake.
- Moon the license plate cameras.
Pro and Con: We’d never accuse Pierce Transit board members of trying to rig the voters guide by appointing Robert “The Traveller” Hill to write the anti-tax statement from his jail cell.
Maybe they just misunderstood what it means to have someone give the “con” point of view.
License and registration, please: We love that this Saturday’s soapbox derby in Fircrest is becoming a summer tradition. It’s just too bad that every time the junior racers hit peak speed, a city cop pulls them over and writes a ticket.
Those wishy-washy pols: When it comes to honchos endorsing other honchos this election season, brace yourself for more waffling than Saturday morning at IHOP.
How can we simple voters make a decision, pray tell, when the honchos themselves are so bloody indecisive?
We’re talking about you, Ryan Mello.
It started when state Rep. Connie Ladenburg claimed in the TNT’s online voter guide that the Tacoma city councilman had endorsed her for Pierce County Council District 4.
Word got back to us that Mello hadn’t endorsed either of the Democratic candidates. He confirmed to the Trib this week that he was staying neutral, playing Switzerland.
Then he sent a reporter an email with a slightly different spin: “I have decided to endorse both Connie Ladenburg and Sharon Benson,” he starts, then later concludes: “I believe both Connie and Sharon are up to the task based on their long time commitment to our community and their life experiences.”
In that case, we’ll look for Ladenburg to hold office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with Benson taking Thursday through Saturday. They’ll alternate Sundays.
The one that got away: It takes quite a carefree crook to burglarize a fly-fishing shop on Tacoma Mall Boulevard – not once, but twice, as the TNT reported Thursday.
Maybe he heard about Pierce County Jail’s catch-and-release policy.
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