Community on a Bridge

I got caught in traffic a few weeks ago.

Before the accident, we had been driving for hours. We listened to podcasts. We drank coffee. The kids were watching movies in the back of the van. For hours, we just drove.

If we thought about it (which we never do), while we’re driving, we’re surrounded by hundreds of other people. Hundreds of other families sealed up in their individual metal boxes – All listening to their own podcasts, with their kids watching movies in the backseats. But, we never interact with them. We just look at the road, and just drive.

Then a tractor trailer hit an SUV about a mile in front of our car. And, traffic stopped.

It stopped slowly. We all inched along for a half-hour until we began to realize it would take a while for the wreck to be cleared. Finally, our car came to stop right in the middle of the bridge over the Ohio River, and we sat there for almost 3 hours.

The photos above are from Merfam’s photostream on FLICKR’s and are used under the creative common license.

It took a while, but, eventually the stalled traffic changed into a community. We rolled our windows down. We turned the radio up a bit. The bridge swayed as the traffic on the other side of the highway passed by. Then we started to get out of our cars. People walked around and made calls to find out what was happening. We started talking to each other. The guy a few cars ahead of us got out of his car and opened his trunk. He took out his fishing rod, and started fishing off the side of the bridge. The people on the boats passing below waved at us. We all watched the sun set from the bridge. And, we became a community. A loose-knit community, granted. But it was amazing to watch us all step out of our isolated metal boxes and just hang out for a while together. It was a good feeling really.


The photo above is from Flickrized photostream on FLICKR’s and are used under the creative common license.

Eventually, my kids needed to pee. We’re stuck in the middle of a bridge with people walking all around us. So of course, we had them pee in a cup and my wife poured the cup out the window. Then we rolled up the windows and avoided making eye contact with the nuts walking around on the bridge.

Good feeling gone.