When my dad took me to get my permit for driving, we had a Renault Dauphine that had a manual transmission. As we left the DMV, I was told to down shift while turning right at the nearest corner.. I down shifted, but was a bit wide on the turn. A motorist had stopped at the stop sign and witnessed my car coming at him, sitting there in amazement as my car started crawling over the top of his car and landing on the other side of the street - at least that is what it looked like to me. I sat in the drivers seat in shock as my dad went and gave the appropriate information to the gentleman. I was sure I would face a firing squad. Instead, my dad graciously said, we will try again tomorrow. No way..I was not going to touch a car for 4 more years.
Al was in college at UC Berkeley when I took professional lessons and got my license. I was a little nervous driving across the San Mateo/Hayward Bridge to go get him at school for a weekend home. I drove over, he drove back.
I was truly comforted by the sign that assured me 'Free Direction' on the bridge. I reasoned that scared little me could go and ask directions any time I was nervous or lost and they would be happy to do so for free! Each trip, ahhh, the free direction was waiting for me whenever I needed it.
About 6 years later, as we were crossing the San Mateo/Hayward Bridge, and I saw the sign, I commented on how I had been a nervous driver and how the sign made me relax every time I traversed the bridge.
He said, what are you taking about. I said, it says Free Direction. I can go in there any time I am nervous or lost and I can get directions for free. Irritated, he said, No! It means you don't pay!
Yes, I said, you can go in there any time you want and ask directions and they don't charge you. He screamed: NO!! It means you don't pay!! I agreed, not understanding his irritation. I beamed: Isn't it wonderful? And felt pretty smug at my 'insider' knowledge of the road.
Louder: NO!!! It means you don't pay!! Oh yes, I said.. it says Free Direction.
Well it took all the way across the bridge to finally convince me that the sign was indicating that there was no toll paid in that direction, but we would have to pay in when we went in the opposite direction.
Deeply saddened, I said, Oh no!! What will I do if I am lost?? Al said: since when do people charge for directions? I hadn't thought about that.
I am sure you have noticed that the signs now say: No Toll. I wasn't the only one who thought they could get free direction anytime they needed it. Go figure...