The original scary bridge....
I hate crossing bridges—this may be a metaphorical problem as well as a literal, physical one, but since I’m not feeling particularly introspective right now let’s just say that bridges suck….
The bridge that scared me most as a kid was the old suspension bridge that ran between Belpre, Ohio, and Parkersburg, West Virginia. I would always force my parents to stop at the Sohio station on the Belpre side to get Lifesavers candy—I was a kid, somehow I thought the candy would keep the big scary bridge from collapsing. And maybe it did—it never collapsed while I was crossing it. That’s it pictured on the above and to the left—it was torn down in 1980 and replaced with another scary bridge. So much for progress.
On my recent trip to New Orleans I crossed that damn Mississippi River Bridge at Baton Rouge not once but twice—an enervating experience. After the second crossing, my friend JR said “See? You can do it!”
But that’s not the point. Of course I can do it! I just don’t like doing it….
This thing is....
Here is a story about being depressed and then having your life turn to shit….
I had only been working at my new job for seven weeks but I was already dreading going to work. Every day I grew increasingly depressed. It wasn’t the job itself that depressed me—I corrected billing statements, boring and repetitious and stupid billing statements, for a big law firm—but the woman I worked with, Debbie Peterson, who shared my office cubicle, and who seemed to be slowly, steadily, scarily, going mad.
Each morning’s elevator ride up to our office was stressful: sometimes Debbie would show up early to answer the phones until the receptionist arrived, and the doors would slide open and Debbie would be behind the reception desk grinning at the doors, at me, grinning happily but with cold blue glittering eyes. I hated that. I so much preferred to start my day calmly, to step off the elevator into an empty, quiet room.
And on my last day at work, I got what I wanted—got that much, at least….
The first time I read this in public, a woman in the audience asked, “So, did that really happen?”
I was an inexperienced performer then. I was surprised and thrown off by her question.
“What?” I asked. “No, not really.”
“Well, how really? Is that crazy woman based on somebody?”
“Uh…I’ve known a lot of crazy people.”
Some crazier than others, some crazy like this bat in the audience, right?
“But are any of them the inspiration for the woman in the story?”
Fuck no, crazy! I thought with an exclamation point, but I answered with a mumble.
I handle some things better now—I hope….