People out there like to film things on the 7 Mile Bridge. Movies. Commercials. Personal videos. Can't blame them, its an incredible engineering feat, the bridge I mean, and the view is never anything less than stunning. However, for many of us who drive that bridge as a matter of routine for work or other reasons (like taking a 103 year old man to Marathon every Tuesday for his golf plans...), those film shoots can be annoying, unwelcome and the cause of great anxiety in some people (i.e.: me).
The latest cause of my bridge anxiety is Mercedes Benz.
Mercedes Benz shot a commercial yesterday on the bridge. It was all over the news reports, the filming plans, because of course it meant bridge closures & delays. Well, I had to drive Pop, because it was Tuesday, and that's one of the laundry list of things I do on Tuesdays; drive Pop. I explained to him that I would pick him up a tad earlier than usual so we wouldn't get stuck on the bridge on the way up, the timing of the shoot was well publicized. I knew that most likely I would get stuck on the bridge on the way back, but I wasn't too concerned about that because it was just me. Sitting in a car in a traffic jam with someone who is 103 years old is not something I want to plan on doing. I like to be mobile when I'm with Pop, just in case we have to make a sudden pit stop or something. So, we headed out about 45 minutes earlier than I usually pick him up, and by the time we got to the bridge I was about 25 minutes ahead of the published scheduled start time for any closures and/or delays.
As we were crossing the bridge, I began to see dreaded orange cones. Scanning ahead I saw brake lights. Then more cones, and people wearing safety vests. This was not in my plan.
They didn't start shooting any commercial, instead things were being readied. It looked like the bridge was being cleaned (heaven forbid the bridge gets cleaned simply because its Tuesday, no, something like Mercedes Benz has to shoot a commercial for the bridge to be cleaned) and there was a cone lane set up so there was only 1 lane open, alternating. We were stuck in the oncoming traffic lane. The closed lane.
We stopped in the line of traffic and waited. And, then my imagination took over. How deep was the water in that spot? How high up were we over the water? Would I survive if the bridge collapsed? Would the impact from the fall be my demise, or would I be sucked under the water in a vortex of swirling concrete, rebar, automobiles, and other stuff? Oh, yes, I'm such a joy to be around stuck on a bridge.
The bridge was vibrating. This is normal. This is what I guess all bridges do. They sway. They bend to the forces of wind and water. Wind. Water. And me stuck on a bridge; a 7 mile long bridge that feels like it is breathing.
Pop knows I am phobic about bridges. Together we sat in the car in silence for a short bit of time. And, then he said as he laughed out loud "whoo-ee, feel that bridge moving!!!" Laughing. Laughing. Laughing. Pop, not me. It's got to be an incredible feeling to be 103 years old and simply be free of the confines of any worries of not being politically correct in certain situations. Like when you're stuck on a bridge with a gal who's terrified of water, bridges and worse yet cannot swim. Yup, being 103 years old in many ways must be completely and totally liberating. Which matters not when I'm the target of any such liberation.
So, I got stuck in traffic on the way home after doing Pop's marketing as well, but it was all clear when I went to pick him up in the early evening. At least I can say that.
And, to entertain you, here are some photos of my moments on the bridge. Moments where I counted silently in my head to keep calm; focused on breathing, and tried not to imagine too much how deep is the water, and why didn't I ever pack one of those emergency kits that you can break auto glass with under water into Pop's car.
|Finally beginning to move. That's the old bridge to the right.|
|Oncoming Peterbilt. Never a fun moment for me on this bridge with large trucks.|
Extra vibrations. 'Nuff said.
|I can never be prepared to stop on any bridge, anywhere, at any time.|
It simply goes against my nature.