Saturday, February 11, 2012

Like a Bridge Over Icy, Soul-Sucking Water

I will be the first to admit that I harbor some mildly irrational fears.  UPS trucks and the music of Alanis Morissette, for example.  Spiders are another fear of mine, although I certainly wouldn't file that under "irrational."

I have another one that I consider to be completely and totally sane:  My fear of bridges.

I hate bridges.

Maybe I shouldn't make such a broad statement as that.  I can handle, more or less, foot bridges.  I may be restraining myself from breaking into a sprint to make it across before it crumbles beneath my feet, but on the outside, at least, I manage to make myself appear as if I'm just one more completely rational pedestrian.

Driving over a bridge- especially one that spans a body of water- is another matter entirely.

Before I go on, I feel like I should clarify one small thing:  Like the passenger who says they fear flying but actually fears crashing, I don't technically fear the bridge itself so much as driving off the bridge, plunging into the water, and ultimately drowning in a vehicle.

Yesterday, our family spent the evening in the home of some friends.  We had a wonderful time.

When it was time to depart, we made our way from the door of their house to our vehicle as fast as we could; the low last night was 2 degrees Fahrenheit.  Fortunately, it wasn't slick out, so the drive home was uneventful.

Until we reached the Mile Long Bridge.

This bridge crosses part of Saylorville Lake, and is, astonishingly enough, one entire mile long.

If all bridges are Stormtroopers, this bridge is my Darth Vader.  If bridges in general are lesser demons, then this bridge is Satan.  Other bridges generate feelings of mild dislike and anxiety; this bridge is anathema to me.

I was tired and not paying close attention to the drive last night, so it took me a few seconds to realize exactly where we were.

"Are we on the Mile Long Bridge?" I asked Derek, trying to keep the panic out of my voice.


I tried looking straight forward, but that one showed an impossibly long bridge stretching out in front of us.  A glance to the side showed a dark abyss waiting under me, until the cloud that had been obscuring the moon was kind enough to move, and I could suddenly see moonlight reflecting off the ice coating the surface of the lake.

Perfect.  We would hit the ice first, then slowly sink into the freezing depths.

To make matters worse, it was a windy night, and although Derek was keeping control of the car, I could feel the wind buffeting the sides.  I couldn't help imagining what the -10 to -20 degree windchill would feel like when we were sinking.  I also had a clear vision of those menacing signs that read, "Bridge Freezes First."

We did make it over the bridge without incident, although I traveled the last quarter mile or so with my head between my knees.

Does anyone else have that old film of that rocking and twisting bridge playing through your mind right now?

And does anyone else feel kind of sick?


  1. When I took driver's ed we had to drive over that bridge. It was during the Flood of '93 and the water was right at the bridge when we went over and we had to take a different way back because the water was over the bridge by then. I'm not a fan of that bridge either...

  2. I think I never would have learned to drive.


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