Thursday, August 02, 2007

Gephyrophobia

When I was a kid, I remember my father picking me up for weekend (or it could've been a weekday; I dunno) visitation, one time in-particular. While driving across a bridge, he noticed that I'd tensed up. He asked me why and I told him, "I'm kinda afraid of bridges."

He asked why, again, and I struggled to find the will and the words to express my fear that the bridge could collapse or something. His response to his seven- or eight-year-old first-born son's fear was basically to say, "That's stupid."

I felt pretty stupid, too, but I was still afraid of bridges.

Now, it's many, many years later and I've largely conquered this, gephyrophobia, an offshoot of my fear of heights (acrophobia). I still have my moments of knuckling the hell out of the steering wheel as I cross a large body of water, especially, but it's certainly manageable.

I've got other family members, though, who don't $^&* with bridges - period (almost). They drive the long way around or whatever it takes to avoid'em. In some cases, that means they don't get to leave town all that often - either because someone they really trust has to be driving for them to come NEAR a bridge.

I think that's going overboard and I'd really like to see these adults conquer their fears - to some degree, at least. (But I'm biased since I drove a bunch of hours to pick up family members and take them out-of-town, simply because no one in town was available and/or WILLING to cross the I-10 bridge!)

I try to stop short of thinking that they're "stupid," though. After all, I'm sure recent stories of collapsing bridges (in Minnesota, California, and elsewhere) just cement their decades-long phobias.

7 comments:

Miz JJ said...

I use to live in a city where it was impossible to get around without crossing a ton of bridges. I guess I am just use to them.

Angie said...

My friends mom caught a ride with me when I was in my early twenties. She's afraid of a certain bridge in N.O. but it was the closest to our destination so I TOOK IT ANYWAY. Lord have mercy! She got down on the floor and smashed herself underneath the glove compartment. The woman was in tears. I felt terrible (well kind of).

I had to stop and let her use the bathroom immediatly. She's still mad at me and that was over 18 years ago. : )

chele said...

Honey I live in the land of bridges and tunnels. I try not to think about it.

West said...

miz: There are all kindsa bridges around Florida, so, to some degree, I didn't have much of a choice but to try to get over it.

But, staying in Delaware and going across a really high, really rusty, really old-ass bridge to Philly (I think it was Philly) brought the chicken out of me.

I still crossed it, but it wasn't fun, at all. Being high enough to make the battle ships below us look like toys was hard on my resolve. Luckily, I had a girlfriend to impress (or at least not repell).

Angie: Oooooh. I'm glad I'm not that bad. When I'm in the car with folks whose driving scares me, bridges or not, I just don't look.

Then, of course, I resolve never to set foot in a car with them, again,... unless I'm driving.

chele: I hit the Chesapeake b&t thingee on my way back from Maryland. It was fun. Although it was long, it wasn't very high, at all.

But I did it slowwwwwly.

Liz said...

I am always thinking of parts of our elevated freeways collapsing. Bridges never made me too nervous, except for the Chicago Skyway Bridge. That mess has freaked me out since I was a little girl. I really feel for the people in Minnesota. It's such a tragedy.

B. Good said...

The only bridge that I HATE with all my might, is the Bay Bridge from Oakland to San Francisco in Cali. 1) because it already fell down once in an earthquake, and 2) because its LONG as hell.

Its HUGE, double decker, just a monstrous bridge. But there's virtually NO other way to get in or out of San Francisco without it (or some other bridge). Just another reason I don't kick it in the bay area, lol.

But the amount of people that actually survived this latest tragedy is quite remarkable, in my opinion, and that gives me some *kinda* hope.

I just try not to think about it. We'll never know if/when its coming, so......(although I guess some "officials" knew it was a possibility), but hey, what else is new?

Kelson said...

Oddly enough, bridges tend to bother me a lot less than cliffs, as long as the bridge is more or less straight and there's a bit of a shoulder. (I'm acrophobic too.) I remember driving along the central California coast a few years ago, on a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway that runs about midway up a cliff. So on one side, it's a sheer wall of rock, and on the other side, it's a sheer drop of 50-100 feet to the ocean. That seriously freaked me out. We stopped at some outcropping that was big enough to have a parking lot, gift shop, and lawn just so that I could relax for a bit before getting back on the road.

Curved bridges, on the other hand...