/ span

I feel irrationally tragic about the old Bay Bridge.

baybridgecoll2

In this overwrought piece of early-days Photoshop are reflections of freshman year, both the clunky camera and the amped-up ambient glow. I was (am?) a serious, suburban child: my town banned leaf-blowers and plastic lawn chairs; I never had a curfew because I always came home to my AP History notes of my own accord. So there was something to that particular bay crossing. It was summer, and I was riding to the city with boys. I had my nose to the glass, I remember, and the steel beams passed over my head like a benediction.

It’s a stupid expression in more ways that one, but since this is already leaning lachrymose I’ll say also that I’ve fallen both out of and in love on the lower deck, on each occasion in view of Treasure Island against the water. Possibly a bridge primes us for such transitions, suspends us alone with our dilemmas, catalyzes coalescence of something solid from the empty air. But like that picture this is fanciful abstraction. Reality is that the FS bus is a good place to cry, because it’s dim and loud and everyone’s facing forward, whereas the inside of a motorcycle helmet is not, because it fogs.

I don’t dislike the new bridge, exactly, but I must alas join the hipsters and native grouches and all the other wrongfully nostalgic in finding it sort of sterile. It’s too white, too obviously empty of whatever it was that the old one roared at you out of its bare bolts and bad pavement. But this is always the challenge, in the end: to find faith that in time all things might be acquired, to believe one day there will be more than what’s inherent in the build.

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