Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Coleman Bridge

Crossing the York River and connecting Gloucester Point to Yorktown and all points south, the Coleman Bridge is a necessary evil for anyone who lives in Mathews or Gloucester. It is the one and only way to get from No Man's Land to Commercial Activity of Any Kind, including shopping malls and every single retailer known to mankind. On the other side of this bridge are cities that look just like every other city in America, since we are becoming so homogenized with our Starbucks and our Bed Bath and Beyonds. I am perfectly comfortable with the amount of space between Mathews and these places. Perfectly comfortable. Except when I get tired of shopping at convenience stores stocked to the brim with beef jerky and pickled eggs. Does anyone really eat pickled eggs?

Because Mathews is so rural (I'm not complaining, by the way), many people who work have to take this bridge every single day to get to their jobs. It's 30 miles from where I live to here, and most people have to drive at least another 10-20 miles after this, depending on where they work.

The bridge can be vexing at times. For example, because it is a primary artery, it is often congested, especially in the afternoons. Also, it opens frequently for ships who need to get to and from the various Naval establishments in the area. Sometimes, it gets stuck open, which is a truly delightful experience. If you ever want to see what a person is really made of, watch how they react when the bridge is (a) open and then (b) stuck open. If they go with the flow, you've got yourself a calm, reasonable person. If, like most people, they are pacing up and down beside the car with their cell phone pressed to their ear, arms flailing and lips flapping, you've got yourself a hot head. It's a real easy litmus test.

When the bridge opens, traffic is backed up for miles, and there's no way to get across the river, unless you backtrack another 30 or so miles and go through West Point, but nobody wants to do that. Most people would rather stick a hot poker in their eyes.

I have dreamed about this bridge a million times; to clarify I should say I have nightmares about it. In Real Life it is a very tall bridge, and in my dreams I'm usually driving over it when all of a sudden there is no more road and I am plummeting to my death. Only I don't die, I have to swim the York River. Please don't tell me what this means if you analyze dreams for a living. I am certain I don't want to know. Thank you.

The Coleman Bridge: Necessary evil and key ingredient in many nightmares, both literally and figuratively.


cats said...

I hate going over this bridge, because like you say, I've been one of the people stuck in traffic on several occasions. I like the world on the other side of the bridge. It is nice to have more stores to choose from other than Wal-Mart. You can't even buy Nike products on this side of the bridge. It is such a chore to go to Newport News that we seldom go.
Although, this is a beautiful picture, and it sure beats taking a ferry, like they used to do in the old days. I guess we take for granted the historical value of where we live.
Have a great weekend.

kaffy said...

Yes, a beautiful picture once again. I was in a country store today and right smack dab next to the pickled eggs was a big jar of pickled pig's feet. My kid said, "Do people REALLY eat those?" I had to say yes, cuz my father used to looove them when I was a little urchin. Eeek.

Bear Naked said...

Oh my---pickled eggs.
I do not --repeat-- do not allow Ted E to buy them any more except when he is taking them on a fishing trip where he will be away for a few days.
If you get my *drift.*

David said...

I can only imagine those folks pacing with cell phones implanted on ears as they await the "unstucking" of the bridge.
Nice post, I so enjoy your "voice"

MommyTime said...

I remember loving the opening bridges in FL when we used to visit my grandparents. I found them so exciting. Then again, I didn't have to commute over them every day.

Dr. K said...

I've got a Coleman Bridge story for you -- seems someone's first child (meaning me)was due the day they were removing the old Coleman Bridge so they could float in the new, improved 4 lane Coleman that only gets stuck open occasionally instead of all the time.

Well, after explaining the dilemma to the big city hospital folks about the nightmare of going around West point in labor, they elected to induce me. The nurses had a field day with it -- could not understand why anyone in the world would need to be induced because of a bridge. Mercifully, those are the kind of people who don't live around here....

We considered naming her Coleman (not).

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Holy mackerel - I actually considered deleting this post because I thought it was incredibly boring, and here we have six comments, one of which is the infamous Dr. K.!

Thank you all for commenting.

Dr. K. - Speaking of nightmares, I consider being induced one of the worst. I have a story about that but can't think about it now because I will have to pull the covers over my head and cry for three days.

foolery said...

Don't you ever delete one of your posts! If you must, e-mail it to me first so I can still read it! I've been gone for five days, jonesing for my blog family, and yours is the first and only one I have visited yet, so your stories are IMPORTANT.

I still have a lot of stops to make. Keep writing, Miss Cheeky.

-- L

soupisnotafingerfood said...

It ain't a picnic in Central PA if someone forgets to bring the pickled eggs. I can't stand 'em myself. Beets? Yuck.

Also, in further proof that we must be long-lost relations, I also have that dream about falling off of a high bridge. Not that particular bridge, because I have never been over it, but it just ends and I fall. How strange is that?

Someday I'll tell you about my big wave recurring dream, and also the one about the tornado that I can't quite outrun.

I'm a freak!!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Foolery, you're too kind and too funny. And I confess yours was the first one I went to after being locked away for two days with no computer access.

soup - I've never heard of pickled eggs at a picnic. beets, yes. around here the pickled eggs are usually in the conveneince stores. we carry (or tote, as they like to say around here) deviled eggs to our picnics.

And if you tell me you dream about being able to swim in the air, well then you could be the other long lost relative after foolery, who we determined a while back was a twin separated at birth. (Along with kaffy, by the way.)

soupisnotafingerfood said...

CBW, not exactly swimming in the air, but the one dream I have every so often is me hanging in the ocean, and all of a sudden a HUGE wave comes, and I get swept up on its crest to huge heights. I don't ever get sucked under, like when you body-surf and get slammed under, but it's always a huge wave and I am helpless.

Dream interpretation, anyone?

Yes, big jars of pickled eggs at picnics. Deviled eggs, too. Usually both. Go figger.

Patty said...

Great shot of the bridge. I have never got stuck with it open thank goodness