Gephyrophobics! Let’s Unite!

Photo Credit: danmachold via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: danmachold via Compfight cc

My name is Rose, and I am a gephyrophobic,  a person who is afraid to drive over bridges.

(Welcome Rose.)

I am worried that the New NYBridge being built in New York to replace my beloved (barf) Tappan Zee Bridge will make me go nuts. I want to connect with others out there who also freak out when driving on a high road, up in the air, over water, without nets. We need representation.

If nothing is done to assuage our fears, when the New NYBridge is finished in 2018, those of us oppressed with panic attacks, may be forced to stay on one side of the Hudson for the rest of our lives!

From my side on the west, Rockland County, I might never be able to drive east to Westchester County and its pricey malls and restaurants. My bridge-fearing friends from Westchester may never come to visit us poor folks in Rockland County, which many Westchester people feel is a vast wilderness, close to the Adirondacks.

I’m suggesting we, gephyrophobics, form a task force designed to address our concerns. First thing I’d suggest is that we change our name to Brobics (bridge+phobics). Catchy, don’t you think?  I have tried to network with Important Bridge People (IBP) so that when they hear the chilling words, “Rosie and The Brobics are coming,” they will quake with fear. Knowing that we have the power to deliver hoards of Brobics for protests, boycotts, and basic acts of civil disobedience, they will immediately address our concerns.

For starters, Important Bridge People, as you convene your task force to listen to our concerns, it would be nice if you could set up that “drive-over” service. That way Brobics from both sides of the Hudson can meet as one group, on terra firma.

Thank you. Fellow Brobics out there, we need to get together and form a slogan and mission statement. All ideas are welcome.

Building Bridges: Fun for Phobics

Yesterday I drove on my favorite nightmare, The Tappan Zee Bridge. It occurred to me as I was approaching the bridge that there is no net under it.  That’s when my panic attack started. Things that are up high should have nets under them, don’t you think?

Currently, the building of The New NY Bridge is moving ahead. I see all sorts of exciting elements that are going to be included in this New Tappan Zee Bridge, but meanwhile I’m still riding over the Hudson on the old bridge. Nowhere do I see any kind of net, old used mattress, or, even a shore to shore trampoline.  Something must be done. I hope the master bridge builders will do a study on including a net under the New Tappan Zee Bridge.

Driving across the existing Tap, if you’re brave enough to turn your head, you expect to see nothing but sky and seagulls. Not so. There are these grotesque mechanical monsters with flags on their heads, and they are looking down on you. Yikes. They are bridge cranes and they look diabolical. They make me think of Godzilla, a really bad dude who liked to destroy apartment houses, train trestles and bridges.

One day, I found a solution to the Godzilla problem. As I was driving, I pretended I was Fay Wray and the cranes were King Kongs. King Kong loved Fay, and it was a great love story. Maybe if the cranes, grow some fur, I’ll be less fearful. Now, the part about climbing the Empire State Building? Well, maybe only to the second floor.

Are you nervous driving over bridges?

 

 

The True Story of Rip Van Winkle, by a Gephyrophobic

Photo Credit: edenpictures via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: edenpictures via Compfight cc

I have a different view on Washington Irving’s beloved tale, Rip Van Winkle.

As you probably know  Rip Van Winkle takes place in the glorious Hudson River Valley. Rip, leaves his shrewish wife at home and sets out for the mountains. There he meets some new friends, some of them very short. They all drink too much and go bowling. Then Rip falls asleep for twenty years. He wakes up and discovers he has slept through the entire American Revolution. Bummer.

Now ponder this, “How can anyone sleep for twenty years?

I believe Rip must have drunk a helluva lot of booze to sleep that long. Or, he probably ingested a powerful herbal similar to, let’s say Xanax?

“But why,” you ask, “would Rip need such an herbal?”

The answer is, “He needed the powerful herbal because he was having a panic attack.”

“Why was he having a panic attack,” you may ask.

The answer is “Because he wanted to go with his new friends to the other side of the Hudson River where he learned that there was even better food, partying and outdoor activities.

You wonder, “Why couldn’t Rip go with his buddies to the other side of the Hudson?”

The answer is “Because he was afraid to cross the bridge his buddies had built.”

“Why was he afraid,” you ask.

My answer is, “Because the bridge was swaying and Rip had gephyrophobia, a fear of bridges.”  My theory is Rip ran down to the shore every day to try to get the nerve to cross that damn bridge. He’d start out, take a step and turn back. Then, he’d try again the next day. Then he’d chomp on some of his herbal remedies and probably practice some deep breathing.

One day, he took too many herbs, and his new friends got disgusted with him. They left him on his side of the bridge, for twenty years. Also, they stole his gun and his dog.

Today there really is a bridge across the Hudson River called the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

There are a few other bridges too…like the George Washington Bridge and The Tappan Zee Bridge. I live close to The Tappan Zee Bridge….note the use of the word ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…I think it’s secret code to remember Rip’s snooze.

Somebody must have been snoozing when they built The Tappan Zee Bridge because now they have to build it all over again.

I really feel for Rip Van Winkle and his problems because I am a gephyrophobic too. I do drive to “the other side,” but, I never know when “It” the panic attack is going to hit. When “It” attacks, unlike Rip, I power my way through it and then say, “never again.” But that’s the thing about living in the Hudson River Valley; whether you are on the west side or the east side of the Hudson River, you will need to cross over to the other side at different times in your life. For some of us, that can be a challenge, but we persevere.

No one has more sympathy, empathy, or whatever you call it, for others out there who are afraid of driving over bridges, particularly high ones. As the New Tappan Zee Bridge and other bridges are being built in this great country,  let’s share our stories.

 

 

 

 

Heights and Bridges: Going Over the Edge!

Photo Credit: churl via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: churl via Compfight cc

Here is a lovely picture of a big, tall, bridge. Now look up at the big blue sky over the bridge.

Do you see a woman’s head floating around in the big blue sky over the bridge?  The head has dyed brown hair, eyeglasses and a mouth, wide open, screaming.

The head belongs to a woman who is having an out-of-body experience.

The rest of her body is driving (sort of) down there, on the highway on the bridge, three lanes north and three south. The woman’s body is driving south and her car is straddling the center and inside lane. Next to her car, in the outside lane, is a huge tanker truck. Way up in the sky, the woman’s head secretly thanks the tanker for blocking her view of the edge of the bridge. Bridges and their edges make her have panic attacks like she’s having now.

The problem with having panic attacks on bridges and going 11 mph while straddling two lanes in a 50 mph zone, is sometimes other drivers get angry. They line up behind the woman’s car and honk or tailgate. Up in the sky, her head sees them banging on their steering wheels in total frustration, and she feels their pain.

Her head tries to will her body to relax. “Breathe.” she commands her faraway body. “Count to ten. Sing! ‘The farmer in the dell. The f–ker in the dell. Hi ho…’” It’s useless. She can’t get enough air to get the words out.

“This will be the day that I die,” she thinks.

Meanwhile down in her body, her sweaty hands clutch the steering wheel. She prays that her hands won’t slip on the steering wheel and send her over the edge of the bridge. “Over the edge! That’s a funny one.” She’s already over the edge! Up in the sky, her floating head enjoys the irony.

At last it’s over. As her car arrives at the end of the bridge and on to solid road, the woman’s head falls from the sky and reconnects with her neck and the rest of her body. She is spent.

“Never again,” she says. “I will never do this again, as long as I live.”

But she lies.  She still drives on bridges, climbs mountain ledges, and rides up the old wooden rickety escalator at Macy’s to the 7th floor Woman’s Department.

So, if you are in some high place, and next to you  is a wacky pear shaped woman, introduce yourself.

You might hear her say, “Hello. My name is Rose, The Nothing Expert, and I am afraid of lots of things that go up.”

“Welcome Rose,” you might say. “You’re among friends.”