While driving north on I-95 the other day, I had three quarters in my right hand, in preparation of paying an upcoming toll. As I rounded the curve past the I-64 merge and dipped under the Belvidere Street bridge, an overpowering image hit me: I was twirling and rotating these quarters in the same way that my father used to, when he would approach the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike toll booth that used to be in that location.
Even though I was doing the Queeg-like metal manipulation, even though the toll system on I-95 is long gone (and yet might soon return, thanks to Gov. McDonnell), it all came back to me…that sense of slowing down, waiting for the toll booth, the toss of the quarters, the hope that they didn’t spin out of the receptacle, and the acceleration to regain speed.
Something as simple as three quarters can take me back 40 years.