All the talk of a cashless society, and….
I take it literally. I NEVER, EVER have any cash on hand. In a stupid haze, I always assume that whoever will take a debit card or some means of electronic payment.
So, on Friday, I found myself driving to Hilton Head Island. If you live on Hilton Head, have ever lived on Hilton Head or somehow love Hilton Head, please forgive me for my next comment. I understand for many that Hilton Head is Heaven on Earth.
Hilton Head Island is the model of what Hell must be like. Instead of a lake of fire, I imagine endless gated communities with no means of finding one’s ultimate destination, and being looked at as if I am riff-raff for trying to turn around and try a different route, as pretty darn near close to hellacious.
No one told me that the conference I was attending had a toll booth between it and me. In the Andra’s Cashless Society Model of living, I had one buck exactly – a buck I found at Starbucks on the windowsill that someone left behind and I scarfed up like it was a gold doubloon from a sunken pirate treasure. That’s how pathetic I am.
I went onto the toll road thinking I had a buck. How much could the toll be?
Well, this is HILTON HEAD HELL. The toll was $1.25. Because I didn’t have that much, I exited, spending my buck for the mere privilege of getting off at an exit to find an ATM machine and get more cashola. I drove around and around and around, examining every manner of community gate and being sent away like Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden to the corrupted world outside. No. Cash. Machines. ANYWHERE.
Finally, I pulled into a marina, thinking if I was going to be stuck forever on this stretch of Hilton Head (there was a one buck fee to go back out, too, which I lacked), I might as well look at the river, the marsh and the chigger-infested Spanish moss and appreciate why people live in the Lowcountry for a bit before banging my head into the steering wheel and screaming. And screaming. And screaming.
Only, I pulled up next to a deputy sheriff, and I did not think head banging and screaming would make the proper Southern impression. I rolled down my window and smiled the sweet Southern smile that I was taught growing up, the one that I really have to concentrate to conjure these days, given that I was born too blunt to be Southern.
He took pity on my drooping smile and gave me the $1.25 toll fee to get to my conference. In a roundabout way, he admitted that it would be easier on Hilton Head to give me the cash than it would be to try to explain where ANYTHING was. Especially an ATM.
The lesson? Maybe a few paper bucks in my wallet at all times would be just enough.
Too Much is Just Enough: Cash Money