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Saturday, May 4, 2013

New bridge; old memories

Nov. 17, 1980

Trolls don’t live under the new Wall Street Bridge, but it appears some of the homeless do – now that the county has finally put on the road deck and drought has made room by lowering the river.
Technically open, the bridge is hardly finished six months after the county said it would be.
It looks the way new houses look when a family is forced to move in before all the small details are complete, the ribs beneath the deck, long exposed on top and gone rusty for lack of cover have been pained green, through spots of rush still show through, and bring on a time when the county will have to replace the bridge again.
Everything else has a temporary feel, such as the lamp posts – which replaced the line of old posts – clamped onto the bridge on top of four by four pieces of wood, no double installed because the metal posts got backordered – so shaky a construction even the wrens won’t perch on them long, flying away each time a stiff wind blows and causes the whole thing to rattle. The gulls don’t perch on them at all.
The river hasn’t changed much except to grow even lower with the drought than before, exposing the cables at the bottom that look as slippery and deadly as eels – as if someone has sliced open a body’s muscles to expose the tendons – the slow trickle of remaining water like blood stained green by the endless deposit of poison from the chemical plant just up stream near the Monroe Street Bridge.
Strangely, I miss seeing the workmen who in the dead of winter huddled around oil can fire the way the homeless do now, bitching about the snow as they sipped coffee and smoked cigarettes and stamp their feet to keep their toes from freezing.
I stand at the new rail and feel their loss, as if some member of my family has just died – and this puzzles me. I even miss their mocking me as I jogged across the open walkway each morning – they gone on to build other bridges elsewhere while I remain married to this bridge and this river, perhaps forever.

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