Friday, August 03, 2007


I wonder if it is possible to be un-healthily empathetic? Is there a word for that kind of thing? Can we use it to describe me?

I'm looking at pictures of the bridge in the twin cities and my head is spinning. How is it possible, in the richest country on the planet, that a BRIDGE can FUCKING FALL DOWN?

How is it possible that people can be innocently driving home from work or to a ball game and in the space of two minutes be crushed beneath the weight of a bridge and the waters of the Mississippi River? How is it possible for this to happen in a rationale, reasonable world? HOW?

In many ways, I am indescribably grateful for the miracle of those who walked away - the miracle of a school bus that fell SIXTY FOUR FEET full of children who KEPT BREATHING and whose hearts KEPT BEATING and who went home to their mothers and fathers.

I am grateful for my two real life girlfriends who live in the twin cities and who drive across that bridge all the damn time, and who know what a complete freak I am about worrying about people - so they indulged my paranoia and sent me an email this morning just to assure me that they, in fact, had not been anywhere near the bridge when it went down.

But, I cannot help thinking about the people waiting in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn who are still waiting for word. Do they know? Do they know, deep inside, that at this point the odds are infinitesimally small that their particular loved one is coming home? And is there enough Valium on the planet for that kind of anxiety? 'Cause I'm not sure there is.

I cannot help but think about the ones who went into the water, and when my mind goes there, I literally cannot breathe. I cannot breathe, cannot suck air into my own lungs, and my mind scrambles back to that episode of Myth Busters where they tell you how to survive your car falling in the water and I wonder if any of them saw that episode and if they were remembering correctly? Because I, myself, I cannot remember if you are supposed to wait until the water is over your head, or if it was better to start pushing on the car door as soon as it hits the water and how unFUCKINGbelievably unfair it would be to drown that way, because YOU COULDN'T REMEMBER WHAT THE MYTH BUSTERS told you to do????? I think about them, and the thought of their terror rises like bile in my throat, and I tell you, it hurts to breathe. It hurts to breathe.

This is not a healthy way to exist, I know. When that Russian submarine went down several years ago, and the Russians didn't ask for help until it was too late, and we knew the crew was alive but could not be reached in time. DEAR GOD I thought I would lose my mind. Because I swear I could feel them, could feel their final breaths, their final pleas, stuck in what would become their coffin - I felt such a terrible, horrifying pain and terror for them - not one of whom I knew.

Trapped miners? Same thing.

People who jumped from the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11? I couldn't function when I thought about them, either.

It's like wearing a nerve on the outside of my skin. It's enough to drive a girl stark raving mad.



Blogger LaLa said...

I think we may be twins. I worry sometimes about things to the point of me needing a valium. I was sent a link to a blog I wish I had NEVER seen b/c it is all about a woman facing life after her 5 yr old daughter drowned..I swear I can't stop reading it but I wish I could. Now all I can do is worry about my own child....not that I wasn't already..yep, paranoid worrier..that's me : (

I agree with you..what the heck..they knew in 1990 that there was an issue!!

Friday, August 03, 2007 6:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

I know what you mean. I literally can not "go there" in my head because it makes my stomach hurt. Hubby and I were having this discussion about how you don't open the door, you go through a window and then I'm like "but they're power windows, what happens if the power cuts out?" and then it occurs to me that with 4 kids, 2 in carseats, it would be next to impossible to get everyone out safely... and that's when I have to just say "It won't happen. don't think about it." Because really, if I thought about all the awful ways we could die every day I'd never get out of bed. But my heart is breaking for those who were lost and their families who wait to hear the news. What a horrible, senseless tragedy.

Saturday, August 04, 2007 1:22:00 AM  
Blogger Stacy said...

I'm so glad to find out I'm not the only one. I was actually nearly shaking on Thursday until I knew all of my family was accounted for. I've stayed up too late every night watching the coverage hoping for one more survivor (I know, too late now) or hero story. I finally had to pull myself away from it today - but I was the same way on 9/11 and like you said, may of the other events. I was worrying that I really have a problem of getting too emotionally involved with these stories. But now in reading your post and lala & Christina's comments, I feel better.

Hmm - I might have to try to search out that Myth Busters! I'm sure like you said I'd forget it all when needed, but it might make me feel better to have the knowledge hidden in my head somewhere (this is the land of 10,000 lakes after all - with a lot of damn bridges).

Sorry so long - but thanks for posting about it - I know everybody here in MN has been shaken up, but it's nice to know others are thinking of everyone too.

Sunday, August 05, 2007 12:47:00 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...

I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes I think I feel just a bit too much. OK, way too much. Like Christina said, I just can't get myself to "go there". It's all too much. I always say empathy is probably my best quality, but gawd it sucks sometimes!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007 3:48:00 PM  

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