What is it about bridges that we put them,
especially the rickety ones,
in every book or film we make?
The Bridge of San Louis Rey, The Bridge over the River Kwai,
A Bridge Too Far.
Literature, and filmed literature, is full of it.
And what about Indiana Jones?
Rickety bridges hanging in the jungle,
ragged vines as hand-holds.
Is it because they fit into the nature,
symbolic for the imminent dangers in our lives,
or just because they are a perfect topos to move the action along while exacting many an “ooh”, or an “oh no”,
or a few trillion dollars
And then there are the glorious bridges.
Like the moving stone monuments in Harry Potter,
Or the bridges lovers symbolically take to new freedom,
Or where humans meet angels,
and now angelic family members,
on their way to heaven.
To show us the solidity of the past.
And the glories of moving forward to the future.
And then there are the iconic bridges-
San Francisco, Brooklyn, Firth
So you don’t forget where you are, and the writers don’t have to write it into the script.
And then there is the bridge that is played in a monumental number of films as a way of showing couth,
Do I need to really mention the Marx brothers’ Animal Crackers?
Oh, and then there are the familiar bridges:
But seriously, with regard to bridges,
of all the interesting things I have discovered since living over here in Germany,
the bridge house is high on the list.
Small houses, packed several stories high on both sides of a bridge.
Collect a little toll from the ships,
Fish out the window,
Empty your chamber pot into the fast flowing stream.
Hang out a long pole with a hook,
or use a pulley system, and you can have anything delivered to the house.
Perfect modern living
From the middle ages onward.
And all without leaving the livingroom.
Actually, since I live in a village about twelve minutes from a super modern half-
or third, depending on whose statistics you use-
of a million inhabitant town,
Assuming, of course, there is no road repair going on,
Or the Gutenberg marathon run,
Or the carnival parade.
Saturday shopping traffic jam-
Let’s just say I live relatively close to a town with an Isis and Osiris temple,
Gutenberg print museum,
and a ring wall.
with guarded gates in the four corners,
set up in Roman times to keep the barbarians out,
and in medieval times the Archbishop-
they are a pig-headed lot, these Mainzer.
Unfortunately, that still hasn’t solved the problems of the modern times.
Like too many people.
And a constant influx from our Hessian friends right across the river,
who, since they are protestant, as opposed to the Catholic lot here where we are,
have a jealously viewed tendency to not follow the local rules and close on the Catholic holidays.
Which means that,
high mass over,
two-thirds of our city drives, runs, marches, or takes a train,
depending on whether it is carless free bridge day or not,
and high-tails it to the other side of the river to spend their free day,
All Saints, the first of November,
in protestant commercial ecstasy.
Much to the chagrin of our local shopkeepers, who would cheerfully commit mayhem, did they not live in direct shadow of the Cathedral.
And whoever says the recent collapse of the bridge between the two states of Hessen-
the health spa and financial area where Wiesbaden and Frankfurt are-
and the Rhineland Palatinate-
the wine and castles state where we live,
right at a time when a million commercially desirable,
but humanly just too darned many,
people come across it for Carnival,
was an accident,
is talking through his filed off bridge pillars.
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