I’m not afraid of driving over bridges, not even big bridges. I think the first time I drove over the Sunshine Skyway I was 17 years old.

That is a pretty big bridge. It is over five miles long and one time it collapsed, but I am okay with it. It is actually quite beautiful.

I’ve walked on and driven over the Golden Gate Bridge and I’ve ridden or driven over most of the big New York bridges and that crazy one in Delaware, but the big bridge that I am most likely to find myself on these days is the Bay Bridge.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge (or the William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge) connects the Eastern and Western shores of Maryland, or more importantly for me, it is the quickest way to get from Washington D.C. to the Delaware beaches. It is a dual span bridge, it is over four miles long and at one point it is 186 feet high.

I don't know who took this photo. I got it off of Wikipedia.

186 feet is high.

I probably go over this bridge at least eight times a year, and while it can be disconcerting in a storm, it really hasn’t been a big deal for me.

Until today.

I guess this is the part where I explain that the Bay Bridge sees a lot of traffic. A lot. Enough that during peak rush hours they will open up the inside lane of the westbound span and make it eastbound to help with congestion. I have noticed it before, but I never really knew how a person got over there and I never spent any time thinking about it.

Until today.

I was very clever and brought my E-Z Pass with me so that I could 1) go through the toll with no cash and 2) go in the fast lane and pass all of those suckers waiting to pay their $3.00.

Well now I know how one gets on the westbound span heading east.

And it is scary like shit.

On your left you have oncoming traffic. On your right you have a massive drop into the Chesapeake Bay.

I am a pretty good driver and an even better swimmer and I was close to soiling myself.

I found this picture on the internet of what it looks like.

Except this really doesn’t do it justice. Normally I would have been taking pictures like crazy, but since I was driving – and terrified – I kept both hands on the wheel.

See the cars on the one side and that weak ass railing on the other side?

It was one of those situations where I was afraid to slow down because the trip would take longer and I was too scared to speed because I was afraid I would lose control of the car.

I am a pretty brave person. I am not scared of flying or heights. I don’t get stage fright (unless it is an audition). I am okay with crowds and spiders and clowns and dentists and speaking in public.

I don’t mean to say that I am not scared of anything. I have my issues. I am afraid of needles and tornadoes. I am phobic when it comes to snakes and I haven’t watched a horror movie since I accidentally watched “The Ring” in a theater and didn’t sleep for two days.

But this bridge thing. This one thing really threw me. I wasn’t expecting to be scared.

It is like this blogging thing.

I acknowledge that this blog thing is winding down. I don’t believe that “blogs are dead” or anything like that, but I’m not blind. Even when the traffic is there the comments aren’t. I’m just as likely to be on Twitter or Facebook as I am to be reading a blog. I’m not as comfortable writing about my children as I used to be. They can read. It is becoming their story and not mine. Sometimes I go an entire week without writing anything here.

So what is next?

I don’t know. A lot of my friends have written books. Do I want to do that? Maybe. A lot of my peers have started PR companies, design firms or consulting businesses. Do I start another business? Maybe.

I have a pretty good writing resume. Should I try to get a solid writing gig that actually pays?

Do I try fiction?

Yes, I am scared of snakes and writing fiction. Somehow the fiction reveals more about a person than the memoir ever could.

I like change, but I’m not quite sure what comes next.

It is these bridges.

You wouldn’t think that something that big could sneak up on you, but there it is.

And we keep driving because we have no other choice.

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  1. You know what is funny? I wrote almost the exact same post today. (This is not a go read my post comment, I just think it is funny.)

    We should talk…

  2. My whole novel is about bridges. All kinds of them. But I wrote it before this post. Just saying.

  3. I love the bay bridge, I’ve even walked across it back when they held the baybridge walks.

  4. Jodi is right. Weird.

    I’m not used to seeing serious here. You’re very good Sarah, you could do lots of things. I sure hope that you keep the GS around, though, in some form anyway. I’d miss you.

  5. We travel the bridge a lot (like last weekend and this coming weekend!) and I’ve been on it in all traffic conditions. Also, this is why I refuse to get an EZPass because I refuse to drive on the other span (and yes, I know you can use the EZPass in the other lanes.) We went to DE last SAturday and got caught in a massive traffic jam at the bridge, and I have to say the EZPass lane was moving waaaay slower than the regular toll lanes.

    Also the toll is only $2.50. Just sayin’.

    The first time I drove over it by myself, I was 17, it was storming and I was in the middle lane going west with tractor trailers on my right and oncoming traffic on my left. And I am terrified of bridges, no matter the circumstances. Terrified. I almost threw up. These days I just grin and bear it, we travel it so often I’ve gotten used to it. And my husband knows not drive in a lane that puts me on the edge!

  6. Also I like that you said DE beaches and not stupid Maryland. MD sucks!!

  7. Maryland thanks you for your tolls, but you’re free to skip the bridge and drive the long way round next time, as we are so loathsome. :) It only takes five hours to get to Delaware that way. Or, you know, go to Virginia Beach.

    The blog thing isn’t winding down, it’s just changing. Remember what I said about the monks and calligraphy? That was a vaguely intelligent comment so you should maybe file that one away.

    You ARE a business.You always find the cool kids table, and your income is constantly increasing. It’s going to continue to be awesome.

  8. How did you accidentally see The Ring in the theater? I’m sure that’s not what I should have noticed in this post, but it’s all I can think about.

  9. Fogspinner says:

    Just keep both hands on the wheel and enjoy the journey wherever the road takes you.

  10. A friend once asked if I would turn over my blog to my kids when they got old enough to read and write. “Sure,” I said.

    Only I wasn’t quite expecting reading and writing to come when he was four. But, maybe now’s as good a time as any.

    Hell, the writing will probably improve.

  11. A lot of people see bridges and something in between two places, something tobe crossed.

    But there are a few that see the bridge as the destination itself.

    I like your bridge.

  12. I love what William said above, and it fits in perfectly with what I wanted to say. I’m a novelist, and I can tell you that the bridge, the journey of writing isn’t scary at all if you don’t worry about the possible destination. Getting published is hard for everybody, can take years if it happens at all (and lots of good writers never get there), so if you look at that as the end goal, and write only to get to that goal, there’s a chance you’re going to be disappointed, and the “bridge” isn’t going to be as enjoyable as it should be. I wrote without the expectation of publishing, only worried about that when my first book was finished, and the publishing was just icing on the cake.

    I bet you could write a wonderful book, something that’ll make you proud. But only do it for the purpose of writing a book…The most important thing is starting. Really, that’s not scary at all.

  13. I’ll follow you anywhere. Heck, you’ve got me to read about sports that I don’t care about :)

    So I will follow. Except across that bridge. Because that looks a lot like a bridge here in California that scares the crap out of me when ever I have to drive across it (which fortunately is rare).

    Looking forward to watching as you continue rock it on your journey.

  14. I am terrified of bridges. The bridge that connects Canada to the US in Sarnia scares me the most, because if it is really busy it wobbles and sways.

    No matter what path/direction you choose to take, I know you will continue to be awesome!

  15. I hear ya. Loud and clear. I haven’t been blogging as much either and it’s directly related to my kids being able to read and being able to censor me. I want them to. I welcome them saying ‘no, don’t write about that’ … it’s cool. But with my illness and being off work, I don’t know what I’m doing with all this either. But yeah, thinks are … changing.

  16. As a kid I would cross that bridge to get to Bethany, then Dewey Beach as an Adult, now back the Bethany as Parent. Even though the Bay Bridge is a lot closer to DC than the Delaware beaches, it was always the first big sign of where I was heading. I think because of that, your metaphor really hits home with me. Change can be scary.

  17. I also find it really strange that I’m as scared of flying as you know I am and I’ve driven in that very lane with those three lanes of cars coming at me and thought it was really kind of cool and not bothersome at all. Maybe NASCAR is my jam.


  18. I’m a new follower, but I can’t wait to read your posts. No matter what they are about. I think you hava a REAL way about writing. I hope you continue, even if it’s not this blog. I would read it. :)

    Bridges… I’m scared every time I go over one. Shhh. Don’t tell.

  19. Dude, I have the biggest bridge phobia IN THE WORLD. It makes no sense because I am from the east coast and I crossed bridges every day of my life, but now, going over big bridges, especially in the dark, makes me completely freak out. Completely. One night I was driving over the Severn bridge heading in to Wales, where I’d never been, and it was pitch black, and all I could feel was the YAWNING PIT OF BLACK DEATH beneath me. I seriously didn’t know whether to shit twice or die.

  20. I’ve always been afraid of bridges. Crossing them (on foot or in the car) makes me feel a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. But, I know it’s unavoidable and I just have to do it to get where I’m going.

    Branching out into new endeavors is scary, but I hope that you will be glad you did it…

    great to meet you at 2.0.

  21. I am terrified of that bridge! I once crossed it during an ice storm in a Ford Escort. I still can feel the grip of fear just thinking about it and that was 1998!

  22. I really don’t like that bridge, it’s way steep. However, it’s Maryland on both sides, and that could be worse in the grand scheme of things. Maybe you should just keep driving and see what’s on the other side of this bridge.

  23. I’ve culled my google reader significantly in recent months (at a moment when I was feeling like a bad mother and cutting anything out that I possibly could). Your blog is one of the few non-education blogs that survived. I look forward to your posts. I hope you keep writing, even if it’s rarely.

  24. I will be honest, I have read and enjoyed your extensive writing on other sites and then come back to your blog, to four sentence entries and thought WTF? Simply because you ARE so blessed with the gift of well-written gab but it hasn’t always come through on this particular site.

    I am NOT saying stop blogging, but I am saying that for a while now this site hasn’t felt like your True Medium. I think you are so much more, and I will follow you wherever you go.

  25. smart aleck says:

    Write this blog, post nothing but your pictures, write a book of essays, whatever you do, you will be great at it. After all, you got me to make my bed just about every single day (even on wash the sheets day I now pull the comforter up because it looks neater).

    The only other people who have that power are real estate agents and my parents when my allowance depended on it.

    So, success will come to you, because you are one of those people that Gladwell wrote about in The Tipping Point, either a Connector or Salesman. (Forgive me if you happened to hate the book, that was a compliment).

    I understand giving your kids their privacy, but you are no Kate Gosselin. Your daughter will look back years from now and admire how you gave them the best of both worlds–a mom who took care of them without losing any of herself in the process. Your son might see it also, but it takes a female to understand just how hard it is to balance all of the elements.

  26. Luise Mandigo says:

    I recently wrote an essay on a similar thematic but I see some nice points listed here that I miss in my essay, “ask for change” for example. I really like this one

  27. How about just Top Chef recaps all the time?

    I am in the “Sarah is a super talented writer” camp and will follow you wherever you go to write. I’m in the same bind with my kids, I feel like I’m less honest on my blog now that they are older.

    I’m not a writer but I’m starting a photography business this year. It’s super scary to put myself out there. I have moments of complete panic where I think, “What if no one hires me? What if I’m that hack???” but I also know that in a year, I will wish I had started a year ago.

  28. As I read this, I thought about blogging, then writing, then life in general. That’s what great writing does — it makes you think and sends you off in directions you were not expecting, and you’re a better person for it.

    I was walking across campus, thinking about what I wanted to say about this post, when I crossed the Pausch bridge, named for Randy Pausch of “The Last Lecture.” If you haven’t read The Last Lecture, let me know. I’ll send it to you. Look for the video on YouTube too. (Best hour and 15 minutes you will spend this week. Honestly. Bring a tissue or six.)

    Randy wrote: “It’s not about how to achieve your dreams; it’s about how to live your life. If you live your life the right way, karma will take care of itself. Dreams will come to you.”

    I thought about why I go to what are billed as conferences for bloggers. It’s not about the blog, it’s about how you live your life, and hanging out with people who make you think in ways you won’t if you stay home.

    You don’t know what’s next. Neither do I. Your writing makes me think, and I’m confident that will be the case in whatever form or venue you choose.

  29. Man oh man, I wish we could have this conversation in person. Truly. I feel this way.

    I love to write. Man I love writing. Do I want to do something bigger with it? I don’t know. Am I capable? Who knows?

    What I do know is that I took a month off from my blog (because of work) and while I missed it, I also didn’t. I could also see myself just stopping.

    I don’t know what comes next. Not for you. Not for me. I wonder how we find it though?

    Anyway, I will tell you something…just so you know. I remember your blog back when the twins were wee little things. God, maybe 16 or 17 months old? I’ve never stopped reading. Even when I stopped blogging for a year, I still read. I just never commented. I keep reading because you are a good writer. Because I enjoy reading what you write…all these years later.

  30. you seriously just brought tears to me, girl. I adore you

  31. Bridges make me nervous, too. Especially the one you’re talking about going to Delaware…I’ve done it once. Was not a fan.

  32. Write a book. “Real jobs” are not all they’re cracked up to be.

  33. Reinvention is what’s next. I had to shut down my old blog and starting fresh is truly… well, refreshing. I found a bit of a niche and while I can blog about my kids, I don’t feel like I HAVE to because that’s what I’ve BEEN doing for six years. I think once you’ve been doing this for a long time, you kind of back yourself into a corner writing about what the readers want to read. Sometimes it’s good to go out in search of the new. I never thought I’d feel this way, but I do.

    And the Sunshine Skyway is my favorite bridge ever. Such a gorgeous photo!

  34. don’t stop writing. it took a minute to figure out but your style, to me, is so like paula danziger… eminently readable! i don’t find that every day and certainly not in blog form. kudos mama.

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