2010年5月25日火曜日

gephyrophobic

My friend S is desperately afraid of frogs. She can't even say the word let alone look at a picture or watch them on tv.

Me?

Gephyrophobia. Fear of bridges.

Pretty weird for someone who grew up on an island, hey?

But yep. Bridges. I'm not as bad as S. I can talk about bridges, look at them, even admire the engineering on the odd spectacular bridge. I just don't want to go over one. If I have to go over it I want to do so at full tilt- just get it over with. Just like the joke 'it's not the flying I'm afraid of but the crashing' it's not the bridge itself that worries me it's the bridge suddenly not doing it's job that has me all in a lather.

This fear was a mere unsettling niggle when I lived in Australia. I just used to hold my breath when we went over the bridge- twice a day once I started high school- and I was right. Not a long bridge so not so bad unless there was a traffic jam....

Moving here though my fear of bridges has really gained fuel from my environment.

Earthquakes.

Typhoons.

Flooding.

Landslides.

There are just so many more ways for bridges to come undone here.

And it's not a completely irrational fear. Four years ago there was that poor family rearended by a drunk driver while on a bridge who went over and lost their three young children. You can bet your bottom dollar I keep a close eye on the car behind me when we go over bridges.

And twelve years ago the village K lived in in Fukushima was completely stranded when landslides took out both bridges linking them to anything other than mountains.

Most of the time the rivers around here are quite shallow. Fast moving, uninvitingly icy cold (fed by snow melt all year round) but shallow. I have a quick glance as I drive over the bridge to reassure myself I'd be able to wade/ swim it and get on with the driving.

But at the moment it's a different story. The rivers are gushing with snow melt. And then it started raining Sunday and hasn't really stopped. The rivers are all right up. Whole trees are being washed along. The water is brown and murky and full of submerged dangers. For the gephyrophobic they really put the icing on the cake with great honking sirens blaring with ever increasing frequency to tell you that the dams upstream (providing hydro-electricity to Tokyoites) are full and letting water out. Water that will surge down the rivers and rumble under the bridges. Great.

Just when I thought I had thought of every dire consequence of driving across bridges my friend Y gave me something new to worry about. Jumpy-about-frogs S, myself and my neighbour and friend Y were out on the town for the night. (As an aside- I think it's shocking that we used to go out drinking until the wee hours and this last time we ended up staying out until 3am drinking... herbal tea.... in a chain restaurant. How un-wild can you get??? My parents have better nights out than that!) Anyway, S lives in the city and Y and I live here (obviously) and work in the city. We both have to cross two bridges each way each day. That's four bridge crossings each a day.

Wonderfully morbid bridge conversation (without the depressant effect of alcohol as an excuse even) was going on when Y pointed out that she and I absolutely cannot get home without crossing two bridges. No matter which angle we approach the village from there's two bridges to cross. And the bridges are all on the same river. So if a dam bursts, a landslide occurs, an earthquake shakes things up, there's serious flooding etc etc and that river takes out it's bridges we will be stuck in the city. Our families will be on one side of a raging river and we'll be on the other. Shudder...

S finds my fear of bridges amusing. That's good. When I knock on her door to put me up until they fix the bridge I will make sure to teach her four year old son a new song:

We all know frogs go la-di-da-di-da
We all know frogs go la-di-da-di-da
We all know frogs go la-di-da-di-da
And their eyes go gloop gloop gloop...

3 件のコメント:

Brenda さんのコメント...

You learn something new everyday don't you? For me today, I learned 1. The word for fear of bridges 2. You are afraid of bridges 3. Some goofy song about frogs. Thanks!

Kim さんのコメント...

I'm afraid I won't be of help in calming your fear! Great word, by the way! As a child I ALWAYS drempt of some force pulling me up and over the guardrail on the big bridge going into town and tossing me in the bay. I still sometimes dream of it. As I said, no help at all!

anchan さんのコメント...

I used to be afraid of bananas. Couldn't walk down the fruit aisle at the super. I'm getting better, but still can't touch one once it's peeled...