Goodbye, Noble Toll Booth Workers

An ode to the men and woman on the front lines of toll collecting

Oh, noble Toll Booth Worker, how can we honor your memory?
Collector of dollars, giver of receipts, how should we remember?
As the hot, sweaty summer stifled your leaky air conditioner,
as the wet winter cold caused coughs from heater fumes,
as the curt, quick head shake to answer our query,
"Is my Toll Tag not working?"

Only bits and bytes will answer us now, noble collector of coins,
no more shall we hear the shouts of gossip between the booths,
no more shall we see the fake fingernails scrape at the register,
no more shall we be forced to take a moments pause to reflect,
"Do I have exact change?"

Alas, if change is good, and no one collects it, have we lost good?
Have we lost the moments of stop in our on-the-go world?
Replaced now by bills that require more money to send than the money they intend to collect,
by electronic stickers attached to windshields, speeding through the dividers,
Goodbye, Noble Toll Booth Workers -- we'll see you at DFW Airport.

This poem is in honor of those who braved heat, cold, and those jerks on cell phones to collect tolls on the George Bush Turnpike. As of July 1, all cash booths on the Turnpike will be closed, moving to completely electronic tolling.

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