That Bridge

August 1st, 2007

I wrote a blog a week ago about getting out of Iraq and fixing the infrastructure of America. I can’t predict the future.

But I did.

200,000 cars a day cross the Interstate 35w bridge in Minneapolis that crumbled into the Mississippi River last night. I’ve been over that bridge a million times. It was built in 1967. I’ve driven at least 5 different cars I’ve owned across that span. I’ve driven over it stoned, drunk, sick, and way too fast. I’ve listened to Hendrix and the James Gang while going over it. I’ve even spun out on it in the winter time. I’ve gotten stuck on it and been involved in backups that took hours to clear.

I’ve been in love crossing that bridge. Patsy was in the front seat with me. We were on our way to a hidden cabin on the Big Stewart River in Northern Minnesota. I had to cross that bridge to get her apartment. I spent the whole summer with her and then I went off to Colorado for a while.

My family has crossed that bridge in joy, mourning, misery, and disappointment. I remember crossing it with my now deceased father as he drove over it on our way into Minneapolis. I remember women I dated in Minneapolis and the Olympia Gym which I hit every day . I drove over that bridge…. back and forth. So many times I can’t begin to count.

And now a federal interstate bridge has killed how many people? Injured how many school kids? I’m writing this at 930 p.m. Wednesday night with that incompetent toolbag Wolf Blitzer blundering his way through a breaking news report that’s got me clicking to MSNBC.

Now there’s a kid in a ball cap telling how he jumped in and started helping people get out of the wreckage of concrete, rebar, and steel. Thousands are perched on the Washington Avenue Bridge (that’s the arched bridge in the background.) There is one confirmed drowning death and now there’s a severe thunder and lightning storm moving in. Trucks are on fire and black clouds rise in the air. This is a major disaster. At least fifty cars were on the span when it went down.

This will last days. I expect George Bush to get his ass up there on the first Air Force One flight out of D.C. After all, it is a federal bridge. There are bodies in the water. There are people trapped alive under the debris. Steel needs to be cut and pulled away with heavy equipment. Fortunately for the victims, this is Minneapolis. It’s famous for getting its act in order. Great hospitals are within minutes of the catastrophe. This will be a world class rescue effort by both the city and the state. I know. I grew up there.

Millions of times.

I’ve been over that bridge millions of times.

And now it’s gone. And its taken lives with it. And its time to start putting the infrastructure of this country back together. Maybe now, those backslapping deal makers in Congress will quit congratulating themselves and do something about this.

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