No Way Out On The Road to Cougartown

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Yesterday, my family and I decided to visit Sarasota for the first time since we’d moved to the state of Florida a little over a year ago. We’d heard it was a beautiful place…gorgeous coastline, funky artist colonies, amazing food, great shopping, etc. A real Jimmy Buffet-esque paradise. So, we used our cell phone to give us directions–you know, the one with the creepy computerized voice? We set out from Winter Haven and unexpectedly came upon a toll route. Fine, we thought, we have cash for the tolls…so we proceeded on. As we drove along peacefully on our short journey to the real life Margaritaville/Cougartown, I spotted a sign a few feet down the road that read, “EXACT CHANGE REQUIRED”.

My heart skipped several beats, which is more than a little scary since I was behind the wheel of a large sports utility vehicle, and I began to yell to each of my passengers, “Oh my god! Does anyone have any change???” I’d assumed my boys were holding out, because they always find change on the ground (I guess because they are closer to it than I am) and tuck those quarters away in pockets and shoes for later use. But, no such luck….there I was, trapped with no way out…no way to turn around…and no way to magically transform a $20 bill into quarters. Most of all, I was in the throes of a full on panic attack, with no Xanax or even a new tube of lipstick (see previous blog) to be had.

As I approached the toll booth, and stopped at the red lighted stop sign, I knew I had to make a choice. Being the sort of person who, when pushed too far, has been voted most likely to jump off that cliff, guns a’blazin, into the abyss, I did not just sit in my Jeep and cry like a lot of women would. Nor did I try to back up and go the wrong way on the highway, like a suicidal psycho would. No, I did what Thelma and Louise did…I drove right on through, leaving in my wake a chorus of buzzers, bells, whistles, and flashing lights as a highly public testament to my rogue criminal nature…

Oh, and a droll Floridian in a pickup truck who followed me closely just so I would roll down my window long enough for him to shout, “You know, that’s a $100 ticket you got back there…” Uh, yeah…thanks, buddy….


Take another road to a hiding place
Disappear without a trace
Take another road to another time
On another road in another time
Like a novel from the five and dime
Take another road another time

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