Welcome to our regular Saturday feature “What Aggravates Me”

Don’t let the title fool you, this isn’t about Christmas. I guess it could be since the stores are already putting out the holiday decorations. Meanwhile, good luck finding candy for trick or treat. The Halloween displays that showed up in June have already disappeared.

If you paid attention to the news this week you heard that Pittsburgh is among the finalists to get a hyperloop. If you don’t know, a hyperloop is a means of high speed travel where pods travel through a tube. Using magnetic force, the pods are sucked through the tubes at high speed.

They are claiming you could get from Pittsburgh to Chicago in 29 minutes. So, you could live in Pittsburgh and work in Chicago and get there faster than if you have to go through one of the tunnels. You could go to Chicago, pick up a deep dish pizza and it would still be warm when you got home.

Pittsburgh is moving into the future while still holding on to its past that’s part of the charm. People will be able to get sucked through a tube to Chicago, but still grow their own tomatoes. If you ever shop in the Strip district, most of the places have stayed the same.

Look at the Parkway East. It holds on to its original design that was meant to carry about one tenth of the traffic it has today. So, next time you’re crawling toward the Squirrel Hill Tunnel, just let the nostalgia wash over you. That should lessen your stress.

My wife and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary. Ok, it was July 4 but I couldn’t come up with anything else this week. Anyway, we were going to dinner on Mount Washington the evening before our anniversary. Because, neither of us is insane enough to try to go up to Mount Washington on the 4th of July.

Anyway, my wife suggested we take the incline up to the restaurant. Neither of us could remember the last time we had been on the incline. There’s something that hasn’t changed over the years. You’re still pulled up and down by steel cables at speeds much slower than a pod in a tube.

I don’t know how much I paid the last time I was on the incline, but it is now 5 dollars round trip. I only had a twenty so I attempted to hand it to the attendant. He informed me that I would need exact change that I would put into an old fashioned glass fare box. He then pointed to a change machine against the wall.

The change machine looked innocent enough. I inserted my twenty and waited for the two tens or probably four fives to come back. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next…CHING…CHING…CHING…

My change was 16 Susan B Anthony dollars and 8 quarters. An out of town couple with their children stared at me strangely as I cursed at the machine. I grabbed the hand full of coins and headed toward the fare box.

The plan was to unload the quarters first and then the dollars. Somehow, I ended up with nine dollars and four quarters because they’re both the same size! What sadistic person said let’s make a dollar coin that’s exactly the same size as quarters. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever drank a six dollar coke out of a vending machine.

So, now my pockets are jingling as we enter the restaurant. I could see people staring at me as I jingled by. I probably gave them a sense of nostalgia. Remembering that uncle or grandfather that would jingle his pocket change. Then they would reach in and give you a handful, like they were doing you some big favor. They’d be rubbing your head while you counted out the twenty-six cents and thinking,

“Gee thanks tight ass. If I run into you three more times this year I can actually buy something.”

As I finished dinner, my wife suggested leaving the coins as part of the tip. You just have to hope to get out of there before they start swearing at you. Plus, you can never go back to that establishment unless you enjoy saliva in your food.

So, I just bit the bullet and jingled out into the night. If you’re interested, I have nine Susan B Anthony dollars that I’m selling at cost. Plus, in a pinch they can substitute a quarter. Now, isn’t that a bargain?

Follow John on Twitter @jknight841

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