03 August 2007

the day bridge went down.

a major bridge in my city collapsed yesterday.
i'm okay - i wasn't on the bridge though I had driven over it 30 minutes before it fell. I drive over it all the time, probably 5 or 6 times a week. it's crazy and sad and mystifiing and frustrating and leaves you feeling raw. right now i feel really raw.
I'd just walked into First Avenue (the music club/venue) to see the Paid Dues Festival when Randy approached me and said "BK just left; julie was on a bridge that collapsed." what? He didn't know anything more.
Brother Ali was set to go on momentarily but wasn't going to since his DJ (BK) had just left to see to his fiance (Julie). I stepped outside to make a phone call and the phone lines were jammed. Still unaware of the perpensity of the bridge collapse I thought nothing of it and hit redial. Then I overheard it: The 35W bridge over the mississippi collapsed into the river. I immediately thought of Julie and imagined her swimming in the river to shore. I imagined a titanic like scene of hundreds of people in the water screaming for help. I imagined many cars floating in the river as they gradually succumbed to the water. I felt frantic. And I didn't even calculate in all of the steele and concrete and sharp materials bridges are made from.
I called my dad, "I'm okay, but there has been a bridge collapse here. Would you turn on CNN and tell me what's going on?" From Kansas City, for about 20 minutes my dad recounted to me what CNN was reporting. Between "OH MY GODs" he noted a school bus that somehow didn't go over. Little did I know that was the bus Julie was on.
I finished the call with my dad & went back into the club to find randy. I got word that he was on his way to the hospital with Ali. I walked to the lightrail & got on en route to the hospital. At this point I had no idea of Julie's condition, I only knew that she was on the bridge. she was all I was thinking about.
Through out this time I received several mass text messages from friends asking, "Everyone Ok?", 2 of my aunts called, so did my cousin and my mom's boyfriend. By the time I got to my stop I recieved a message from randy that he was back at the club. Julie was injured but slated to be OK. I got off the lightrail anyway & stood there unsure what to do. I could go left and go to the hopsital or I could go right & see the bridge. This is also the stop for the Metrodome & was it was a Twins game night. hundreds of fans stood around in a daze seeming as unsure as I was.
I headed for the bridge. I got about half way there & decided I really wanted to be with Randy so I went back to the club. I got there in time to kiss him and wish him a good set as he left for the soundboard to engineer sets for Living Legends & Felt. I sat in the green room with my friend, Jessie feeling antsy and weird. I wanted to see the bridge.
So I got back on the lightrail. By the time I reached the banks of the mississippi dusk was upon us. The light outside was this amazing orange, giving the feeling that the entire city was under an amber spotlight. The pedestrian only Stone Arch Bridge was closed and so was River Road which goes beneath the bridge. I stood on the bank of the river squinting to see. My Uncle Chris phoned me around this time. He was watching CNN. He told me what he was seeing on television and I told him what I was seeing in person. I couldn't see much & felt a bit relieved of that. There were people everywhere squinting in the direction of the bridge and talking, exchanging tales of where they were when they heard of the collapse and if they knew anyone who was on it. A handful of people had super dooper zoom lenses on their cameras and were shooting like crazy.
I only stayed at the river for about 10 minutes. Then I went back to the club arriving in time to see the last half of Felt's set.
As I stood there watching the show I thought about how normal it seemed in the room, as though nothing was different in our city. I knew the moment the show ended it would all be real again. Slug introduced the last song warning the audience that it would feel weird "out there" and to be sensitive to everyone's reaction when we left the show. I mentally hugged him for that aknowledgement.
The set was over and reality began. When randy & I got home we layed in our bed & watched CNN in disbelief of not only the event but how it was indeed world news. I cried, we held hands & sat silently watching the media coverage.
I don't really know how to end this post. I feel as though I should express some sort of reflection, but I don't have any; I'm just really exhausted and raw.

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