Tuesday, August 01, 2006


My drive to work now is so stressful.

Until last week I could just get on the highway, point the car north, and it was a straight shot all the way until I got off a couple of blocks from the office. Now I have to drive on three different highways, merge, change lanes, cross the river twice on scary bridges, figure out which lanes are exit only when I don't want to exit, and which ones aren't exit lanes when I do want to . . . And it's through a major industrial area, so even though there isn't a lot of traffic, what traffic there is is made up of huge trucks and cement mixers and tankers and all kinds of big equipment.

I'm sure in a week or two it'll be second nature and I won't even have to think about it, but right now I'm not enjoying it at all, to say the least. And the bridges! It's not as bad as it could be, these aren't the big suspension bridges that really scare me, these are big, but I can get into a center lane and try not to think about it or look around too much, and I'm okay.

I don't know what it is, exactly. I know, like most phobias, it's irrational. It's not a fear that the bridge is going to collapse, it feels more like I'm afraid that I'll suddenly spin the wheel and drive off the edge, lose control.

I guess I'm not the only one: Bridge Phobia

Gephyrophobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of crossing bridges. Sufferers of this phobia experience undue anxiety even though they realize their fear is irrational. Their fear may result partly from the fear of enclosure (claustrophobia) or the fear of heights (acrophobia). Phobic drivers may worry about being in an accident in busy traffic or losing control of their vehicles. High bridges over waterways and gorges can be especially intimidating, as can be very long or very narrow bridges.

Later . . .

I wrote that, I think, on Sunday night. On Monday, having finished my latest audio book and without anything else to start listening to, I filled up the car's CD changer with music. I merged onto the highway and hit the "play" button, and the first notes of Los Lonely Boys' Seniorita filled the air. That song just makes me grin, and I turned it up loud and sang along, and it really made me happy.

I'm not saying that my palms didn't start sweating when I saw that big scary bridge coming up--they did--but it wasn't as bad as I expected. I'll get used to it.

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Sharon said...

Willa, I know several people who have bridge phobias and they are all in my family. I don't have a bridge phobia, but I sort of have an elevator phobia. I guess I'm afraid I'll get stuck in one and then feel closed in and have a panic attack or something. As long as I'm in open areas I'm find, but really closed in spaces like elevators where I feel out of control, really bother me. Oh, and I can't ride in the back seat of a car either without getting carsick.

I guess we all have our phobias. There are probably alot more people than we realize who don't like crossing bridges or getting in elevators. Most people just bite the bullet and do it.

That's what I usually do. I will get into an elevator and be ok unless the thing is painfully slow. Or starts jumping up and down or something. I try not to think about it too much.

lisa said...

Sometimes I feel that way on my sister's terrace - like I'm going to jump off but it doesn't really phase(sp.) me. Also once I read years ago in New York magazine about a woman who was abducted by several men. They put her in their car. She heard them say that they were going to go over the bridge to Brooklyn and rape her. She had a severe bridge phobia. She said: I'm not going over a bridge. If you want to rape me, rape me right here in Manhattan. She was able to break away from them and get away because her bridge phobia was so strong that it seemed scarier then the obviously more scary situation that she was involved in. I always thought that was funny.

I have a lot of phobias but bridges aren't one of them.

~m said...

EVERYONE has at least one irrational fear, that's my theory anyway.

Mine are, in this order - rotating doors and possums.

Needless to say my building has said doors and it's just sad that EVERY DAY I approach them like they might eat me.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Willa!
Nice to meet you. ^_^
I'm a Korean high school student.
My name is Jin.
I happened to see your hompage when I was searching for english words on internet. Even though my english is not good,(so I can't read your script, exactly.) this blog looks like a cozy place.

Willa said...

Misty: At least you probably don't run into possums every day in NYC. ;)