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.