Sunday, July 27, 2014

As I approached the menacing structure up ahead, my heart was beating as fast as the energizer bunny could hop. The Tappan Zee Bridge scares me. It’s decrepit and if I could avoid it I would. But, since this bridge connects me to my dad I don’t have a choice.  On this day, I noticed blinking lights up ahead.  Two lanes were shut down. Great, now four lanes would be merging into two, like trying to shove too many people into a crowded elevator.
My hands gripped the steering wheel so tight I saw my veins bulging.  Sweat dripped down my neck and I felt the need to take deep breaths. My whole body stiffened, and I wished I could be loose and relaxed. I managed to merge carefully so first obstacle complete.
As a giant car carrier passed me on my left and an enormous Target truck drove to my right, I imagined getting squished between the two.  An unpleasant thought while trying to prevent a panic attack.
The traffic was horrendous and I tried to remain calm. “ Stay on this road for two more miles”, my GPS chanted in an annoyingly cheerful voice.
“ Be quiet!” I snapped back.
As I continued the drive, I imagined the whole bridge giving way. A troublesome  thought as I was at the highest point of the bridge. Then traffic stopped. Did I mention it was windy?  I imagined a tornado swooping down and transporting my cute little car somewhere far away where I would see the wicked witch of the west  fly by on her broom.
“I need to get a grip,” I thought as I continued to breathe heavily and feared hyperventilating as I drove and hallucinated about Wizard of Oz characters.
I thought I should meditate to relax my nerves. But then I would have to close my eyes. Not a good thing to do while driving.
A booming truck approached me from behind. It came very close to my bumper. My heart skipped a beat as I thought “Please let me get through this. Please let the truck not hit me, please please please let me be off this bridge..”.
Maybe I should have gotten out of my car and sat in a peaceful yoga pose and prayed ? Or ran like a crazy person to the other end of the bridge? If I was an Olympic swimmer I would have swam to safety but since my swimming skills are marginal, I nixed this idea quickly.
I could have called a friend and said , “I am having a nervous breakdown and freaking out on the bridge.”  Then I thought, “ What would they do? Come save me? Re think their friends list? “  If I had magical powers I would have transformed my car into a bird and flew away from this bridge.

I did finally make it to the other side and then remembered the inevitable. I had to make the return trip in a few hours.


  1. Well written! Scary and funny at the same time...nice job, Shelley!

  2. I could totally relate to this excellent and well written essay!!! Thank you for posting this wonderful piece!!