Sunday, May 27, 2012
Happy Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!
When we travelled to San Francisco in 2009, my husband and I had just finished watching "The Bridge," a documentary about people jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge to their deaths. It was horrible. There are cameras on the bridge and we were watching actual suicides. I was scarred for life. Seriously. I've never stopped thinking about it.
Anyway, we picked up our rental car at the airport and dropped our bags off at the house we'd rented, then headed out toward the San Andreas fault since this was the only day we were renting a car. I was jet-lagged, and a little overstimulated at finally being in San Francisco, but I got behind the wheel and found myself heading toward the Golden Gate Bridge.
It was awesome! I wanted to crane my neck and take in its splendor as we approached, but I had to keep my eyes on the traffic. I wanted to scoot to the side and take pictures of the massive structure as we started driving over the bridge, but I couldn't. There were signs and warnings not to stop on the bridge. I thought it might be because they didn't want traffic to back up. Or they didn't want people stopping their cars and jumping off the bridge. My husband said it was more likely they were worried about bombs. Whatever the reason, we weren't allowed to stop.
So I drifted into the flow of traffic, which was going much faster than I'd expected. I had no choice; I was driving over the bridge, and that's when I started to panic a little bit. That's when I remembered how scared I am to drive over bridges. And not only was I driving over the bridge, tired, jet lagged, and overstimulated, but I also couldn't stop looking to the side to see if anyone was jumping. It was a white-knuckled adventure to be sure.
We got across and my mother congratulated me on driving over the Golden Gate Bridge as if I'd done something Herculean. And I accepted her congratulations as though I had. My adrenaline was pumping. I wanted to pull over and recuperate and study the bridge I'd just conquered, but I didn't. We had places to go. Instead, I made sure that my husband agreed to drive us back, because I didn't think I could do it again.
We went back to the bridge two more times on that trip. I walked halfway across it at one point, but that was enough. I saw the suicide hotline phones and turned back around. I enjoyed the views of the bridge from afar much more than I enjoyed being on it.