Friday, September 09, 2005

My poor mother

There was a bridge between my house and my lab that I walked, biked, or bussed over twice a day. This bridge was falling apart, by which I mean actual pieces of the bridge fell off all the time. At one point, I found a gaping hole in the sidewalk that was so big, a small child could have fallen through it. But I realized I should have chosen different words when I called the city to report the hole, because the guy on the phone gasped, panicked, “A small child fell through the bridge?”

I cleared that right up, but pointed out that the gaping hole was an accident waiting to happen. With his mind at rest concerning small children, the city worker said, “Oh, on the South St. bridge? We already have people working on that hole.” I looked across the street at the cones and construction markers surrounding one of the other gaping holes on the bridge.

“No, it’s a different one,” I told him.

“You mean the one up at the intersection with the highway? Because we…”

I knew which one he was talking about, and cut him off. “No, it’s not that one either. I know you already laid a metal plate over that one. This is a new hole.”

The man sighed, “That damn bridge. OK, thanks for letting us know,” and we hung up. And I am happy to report that by the end of the day, there was a metal plate bolted down over the hole to prevent the falling through of any small children.

Nevertheless, the state of the bridge drove me crazy. Yes, I realize that closing the bridge for repair would cause major traffic and inconvenience for the city, but you know what else would cause major traffic and inconvenience for the city? The collapse of the bridge! And you’d also get deaths!

They didn’t even close the bridge for repair when a gigantic chunk of it fell off onto the interstate. Fortunately, it didn’t hit anyone, but that was just lucky.

So why did I title this entry “My poor mother?” Because there was one spot on the bridge that made a loud bang whenever cars drove over it, and a really loud bang when trucks hit it. I often used my walk between home and the lab to make phone calls, and I was talking to my mom on the bridge when a truck came by with a bang! bang! I couldn’t hear my mom over the noise, so I said, “Hold on a sec,” and waited until the truck finished passing by.

When I got back on the phone, my mom was shouting, “Mo? Mo! MO!” hysterically, because she thought I’d been shot.

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