Thursday, September 30, 2004

A view of the bridge

Still feeling lousy. And feeling lousier over something that happened on my drive home from work tonight. I left about 4:15 - a good two hours early - because my limbs felt heavy, my head was stuffy and all I wanted to do was lay down. I had just started to marvel at the lack of traffic at a typically busy intersection when I realized that the road to the bridge was closed. They've been working on the bridge lately, but are usually savvy enough not to close it at peak commuting times.

So I grumbled to myself and started down the alternate route - one that takes me a good five miles out of my way. May not sound like much, but my 15-minute commute is all on local roads, so five miles means at least doubling the amount of time my drive takes. This route passes under the bridge, and as I approached it, I didn't see any machinery or workers, just a cluster of police cars just past the southbound on-ramp. Traffic was just inching along, so as I cleared the bridge on the road underneath, I glanced up. And saw a man, clinging to the fence on the bridge from the outside. He was perched on a tiny little perch, with his back to the road and his face to the bridge. And there were a handful of people in uniform talking to him. And underneath, I noticed suddenly, were fire trucks and emergency personnel. And across the way, in the parking lot of the fish processing plant, were a couple guys on motorcycles, pointing and kinda laughing and talking on their cell phones.

It was chilling. I felt horrible for the man - and amazed at the impact one person's tragedy can have on thousands upon thousands of people. And I wanted to smack those bikers in the face. I called work on my cell phone, let my boss know about what was going on since she has to cross the bridge to get home, too. But really I think I wanted to tell someone what I had just seen.

The drive home ultimately took an hour. As far as I know, the bridge is still closed, and the man is still up there, holding on.