I hate bridges that I have to cross in a car. I hate blue mini-vans that wind gusts control. I hate coming home from Michigan every summer to start the routine over….and I hate it when my kids want me to referee their petty little squabbles.
I was scratching away the last remnant of my peeling shoulder that day when I saw the Skyway bridge in the distance. The angle coming home from Michigan is just a different from the way up. The bridge seems to swoop a bit to the left and I can see some of the city scape. Normally, I love seeing Chicago town from all angles but today I was buzzing along in the Caravan knowing that summer was fading fast. The cherubs,well not exactly cherubs, were playing with the Legos in the middle of the seat in the back. The imaginary line that we always drew was between them. They were unaware of my feelings of sadness and impending doom at seeing the bridge before me. Dave, who usually can talk me down when I experience my bridge phobia wasn’t with on this one last trip to the cottage.
But things were going smoothly in the back seat and I had my favorite ‘hard rock’ on, up front, to occupy my mind. I feared the bridge and the potential veering that could happen. We could fly off to water below. It would be the end. They would never see their dad again. I would never see the cottage again. The wind started to shake the van a bit, I said to myself, “I think I can, I think I can”. My favorite lifelong story book line.
Suddenly, someone spoke from Legoland in the back seat, “You crossed the imaginary line and …you stole the man that I needed for the ship I’m building.”
I did what I always do when I don’t like the melody coming from the back. I turned up my tunes…loud….so I couldn’t hear them. They start to scream,
“Mom, turn it down, you’re hurting our ears.”
“I will …but you’ve gotta stop that noise you two are making.”
“Okay, we promise.” I notice the toll booth ahead….oh, no, I forgot to see if I have any cash. The van is sashaying to and fro in the wind. I start groping for my purse…digging on the bottom because that is always where the change falls. I come up with about 75 cents. I start to sweat and my hands are sliding down the wheel…”I’ve got to get a grip….I’ve got to find more money.” The kids still are fighting and I see the bridge looming. I slow to the booth. Digging for money, I come up with a buck and all I need is another 25 cents. “Found it, and my eyes are still on the road.”
I turn down the radio because I’m not sure that the toll booth guy will understand my form of discipline. I stop and try to open the window. It doesn’t budge with my first strike at the button. “What am I going to do now?” I start hitting all the buttons that I can, hoping to budge something. My van suddenly is possessed, all the windows were going up and down at different intervals…seeming to mock me ….up and down they went.
Finally, the front driver’s side miraculously opens and I hand the man my money. I shut the window and I heard it….laughter ringing out from the back seat. I turned to glare at them but my head wouldn’t budge it seemed as stuck as the window. One of the hooligans says, “uh, ma, your hair is stuck in the window.” Sure enough it was. I calmly touched the window button this time and retrieved my lock, just as we coasted into Chicago.
We made it home, almost in one piece, just missing a hair- or two.
PS This happened a very long time ago, when we didn’t have I-Passes..today it would be different.
PSS Yes, I do have the phobia to this day…and the cherubs?…they still fondly remember the day the car was possessed by a mom that was a wee bit out of control
snip, snap, snout….this tale is told out.