Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fear of bridges

OK, I have quite a few fears that I have no real explanation for....fear of clowns (admit it, they are creepy!), fear of heights, fear of tunnels (its the coalminer's granddaughter in me!), fear of sharks (who actually kill less people each year than dogs) and fear of bridges!  With the co-op we are attending being across town, I am being forced to confront my fear of bridges each week, twice in one day!  No matter which way I go (there are at least 3 routes from the house) I am forced to cross the Western Hills Viaduct each week (so bridge 1)....and unfortunately the route that seems to be the least congested involves we crossing into Kentucky and approaching Cincinnati from the south, which means crossing the river not ONCE but TWICE on the commute (bridges 2 and 3)!

I can't explain it, but even sitting here, typing this, the thought of crossing those bridges makes my palms sweaty!  I do the best with crossing the bridge on 275, probably because I can navigate across it in the center lane and I do the worst with the bridge on 471, probably because I have to cross it in the right hand lane and because of the time of day, each time we cross it I have been left STUCK sitting on the bridge in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic, it doesn't help that as I approach it that cars are frantically trying to merge as they enter the expressway from the final ramp in Kentucky.

Sophia laughs at me, as I chant or hum or sing a prayer as I cross the bridge, it is all I can do to keep my focus.  The thoughts that race through my head are irrational...the bridge collapsing, the car breaking down or running out of gas (forcing me out of the car) or worse yet a car crash that sends my car and my family plummeting over the side of the bridge and into the murky river below. I always put gas in the car before we head out, so the probability that I would run out of gas on the bridge is almost non existent, but I can't keep the thought from coming!

The viaduct scares me.  Depending on the route I take I am either on the top (which plays into my bridge fear) or on the bottom which gives me the whole bridge fear coupled with an "almost in a tunnel" feeling it gives me.  Concrete surrounds me. I try to regulate my breathing.  I can feel the sweat roll down the back of my legs, my palms slip on the steering wheel.

I try to do the rational thing and research my fear.  It doesn't help that when I try to google bridges that the first search that came up was something along the lines of "millions of Americans cross bridges that are structurally unsound each day"!  THANKS GOOGLE!  Statistically speaking, there have only been 15 bridge collapses in the United States since 2000, so about 1 per year, and most involved no fatalities!  The worse of those collapses was in 2007 on the I-35 W bridge in Minneapolis that killed 13 and injured 145.  I don't know how many people cross bridges each day in the United States but I am guessing that the odds of me being on that one bridge that collapses each year at the precise moment that it gives way is probably less than me getting hit by a car crossing the street or getting in a car accident.  OK, I can't google the likelihood of any of those, because if I do, I might never leave my house again.

But fears AREN'T rational!  So if you see a woman in a blue minivan in front of you on Thursday mornings, with her windows rolled down and her lips moving in seeming unending prayer, it is probably me....stay off my bumper, join me in prayer, we WILL make it to the other side.....

No comments:

Post a Comment