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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