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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: Thoughts From the Bridge

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thoughts From the Bridge

Many moons ago, when I was young(er) and single and just figuring out how to get life started, I shared an apartment above a pizza shop in Philadelphia.  It wasn't quite Center City and it wasn't quite South Philly.  It was on South Street.  South Street is a world unto itself, as many who've visited will tell you.

Sure it was infested with mice (I don't want to think about the fact that they were finding their way upstairs from that pizza shop...the pizza was so good).  But it was larger than most apartments of people I knew in the city, and way cheaper.  Plus, you couldn't beat the location.

Or the noise.  Oh my lord, the noise.  The first night I spent there, I'm pretty sure I didn't fall asleep until after 3:00...and then the street cleaners passed by at 4:00.  It was not a good night.  But we grew accustomed to it quickly, to the point where we could nap in the living room with the windows open on a Friday night prior to going out (gotta get that disco nap in there!). 

One thing we never, ever grew accustomed to in the two years I lived there, though, were the "Ride the Ducks" tour boats, land and sea vehicles which take tourists on a trip around historic Philadelphia and then on a short ride down the Delaware River.  They were literally the bane of my existence.  I would curse them with all my might as they disrupted an already noisy Saturday (again, THAT kind of noise I could handle) with sounds of obnoxiously loud party music, a tour guide letting everyone know that Larry Fine of the Three Stooges was allegedly born right across the street from my apartment, and those damn stinking duck noisemakers:  Quaaaaaack quaaaaaaack quaaaaaaaack!

Now imagine 35 people blowing them all at once and you'll understand just a small part of my personal hell.  35 people stuck in slow-moving traffic.  One boat could be audible for 15, maybe 20 minutes at a time, depending on how bad traffic was.  South Street gets just a little congested.

We came up with all sorts of ways to retaliate.  My favorite was the plan of purchasing super soakers and attacking from our 3rd floor window.  In our minds, we would become the stuff of legend.  "Hey folks, if we're lucky, the Super Soaker Strikers may attack, you never know!" Imagine the squeals of delight of the children in between the quacking of those damn stinking duck noisemakers.

I guess my history with the boats is why I gasped so loudly when my old roommate texted me on Wednesday to tell me that one of the boats had been struck by a barge on the Delaware and sank.  I had seen hundreds and hundreds of people sitting in them over the years - and there were always, always children.  Immediately I started to pray for everyone to be okay, especially any kids.

And over the course of the day and the days since then it's been determined that two people drowned in the accident - 16 and 20 years old, both from Hungary, both touring with a church group.

I pass over the scene of the collision every day, back and forth over the Ben Franklin Bridge.  This afternoon I sat in my seat and looked out across the water to where it happened.  I can't imagine seeing something so large bearing down on me and having nowhere to run, being trapped in a small boat in the middle of a river with a strong current.  I thought about the two young people whose bodies were found today, and how they had no idea when they woke up on Wednesday that it would be for the last time.

But people don't know that, do they, those who are lost in such accidents? I guess it's a blessing - such prior knowledge would drive a person crazy, I imagine. 

I thought about them, and about how if such a thing happened to me, my last thoughts would be (aside from Rob and my family), "No fair - I didn't have enough time".

I guess many people would feel the same way.  We assume we have tomorrow, next week, next year.  Not just us, but everyone around us.  I think of Rob's dad, and that judging by how he was found by his neighbor, he was just getting ready to go to work like any other day.  Then something burst in his brain and life as he knew it was over.

To be honest with you, I'm not totally sure where I'm going with this.  Suffice it to say I'm thinking about time, and about living the best way I can, and about wanting to face eternity, someday, with no regrets.

Don't we all?



Blogger The Sports Nut Blogs said...

I want that pizza now, just so you know. I've been thinking about it day in and day out lately. That, and those humongous corned beef sandwiches from that deli a long while ago.

July 10, 2010 at 1:14 AM

Blogger A Year on the Grill said...

This is such a terrific post.

You are indeed coming into your own, finding your voice... well done

July 10, 2010 at 5:52 AM

Blogger Real Life Reslers said...

I loved this post! Thought provoking!

July 11, 2010 at 5:44 PM

Blogger alicia said...

Yes. Such a sad story, but I think it is these type of stories that really force us to think about our own mortality and how we want to spend our days. Great post.

July 11, 2010 at 11:42 PM

Blogger alicia said...

Hey, your reader base is growing. Yah!! Thanks so much for stopping by. That day at the park was crazy nuts, but made for some fab memories. And I knew I had to laugh or I'd cry. Haha.

July 15, 2010 at 10:46 AM


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