Wednesday, August 01, 2007


It's an odd human desire to insert one's self into a tragedy, to say "I was there, I saw it."

I wasn't there, I didn't see it. But after I graduated from college, I lived next to the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis. My bedroom window overlooked 35W. I dated a guy who worked in the factory under the bridge.

I grew up with the belief that anything east of the Mississippi was "out east" and anything west of the Mississippi was the Midwest, the beginning of the west. When I moved to Minneapolis, I lived north of the Mississippi, which pleased me. I felt like I was standing astride the nation, and the bridge in my backyard was a symbol of my new independence. I was cosmopolitan and savvy and successful. Driving back and forth on it, I felt an absurd pride in my beautiful new adopted city, and in myself for living in it. "I cross the Mississippi the way some people cross the street," I bragged.

From the bridge, you get a great view of downtown Minneapolis. I have a photo, which of course at this moment I can't find, I took while driving across the bridge at 60 mph of the Minneapolis skyline. It was taken in winter, on one of those early subzero mornings when it's so cold all the colors fade to pastel. The skyscrapers are pink and gold and silver against a brittle blue sky, and all the buildings have puffs of white smoke coming from them.

I mourn the dead and injured, and I mourn the bridge.


  1. My friends, check in when you can.

  2. I'm just glad the collapse happened in August and not February, when 6:02 p.m. is dark and frigid.

    Have been watching WCCO's coverage via their website for three hours; the 10:00 news is a minute away.

  3. Amen.

    I didn't hear about this until about 15 minutes ago. I'm trying hard not to be frantic.

  4. Well put. I'm mourning both, too. That bridge is (was) my route to and from work every morning, and our connection to the rest of the Twin Cities. We're very shaken to think how often we're on that bridge, and how it could have easily been us if the timing had been slightly different. Still waiting to hear back from Rochelle, who commutes over that bridge every day, too.

  5. I'm glad to know you're ok (says she who has no clear idea of where Minnesota is)

  6. Anna Phor9:45 AM

    I'm so glad to hear that you and yours are all right. Such an awful, awful thing. My heart goes out to your city.