In the anxious minutes while driving over a bridge – as a passenger of course – there are things I don’t want to hear – as well intentioned as they may be.
Here are a few things NOT TO SAY and WHY THEY DON’T EASE MY MIND.
Close Your Eyes
Why Not? I’m not an ostrich so burying my head in the sand doesn’t make the situation not so. Besides the ostrich thing is a myth. They don’t really bury their heads. Anyway, when you’re on high alert, you don’t shut your eyes.
It’ll Be Over Soon
Why Not? What do you know that I don’t? My mind races. WHAT will be over soon? My life? Are we going over the edge? I know anything – and none of it good – can happen on that trip across the bridge. Please don’t reinforce my thinking.
It’s No Big Deal
Why Not? Because it’s not a big deal to you? I already know I have an irrational fear and that millions of people on the planet do this every day. Maybe there would be a BETTER TIME to belittle my fear or discuss it.
You’re Missing the View! Or, Look at That!
Why Not? Views of vast skies and water are not appealing to me right now. Neither are ravines. Ships, sailboats, the Statue of Liberty, the city skyline, or sunset bathed cliffs aren’t pleasing. (Neither are funny bumper stickers.) How could I enjoy the view when it’s partly the view (the height, distance and expanse) that makes me miserable?
How Would You like to Work on this Bridge?
Why Not? Seriously? I was thinking of becoming a bridge painter.
Not only is that a stupid question but it’s like asking a golfer, do you inhale on your backswing. My brother asked me that once and it was all I could think of the rest of the round. Now I’m thinking about hanging over the bridge on scaffolding painting or high up on the towers replacing lightbulbs. I’m spinning the fear into a king-sized quilt.
My snarky response should be some impossible profession for the person asking like, how would you like be an underwear model, a jockey or a Mt. Everest guide. But at the time under stress I’m not able to craft a meaningful retort other than a few expletives.
So, next time you’re driving with someone afraid to cross bridges, not saying these things on a bridge will go far to create a less stressful trip for everyone on the ride. You’re never going to make them unafraid or even less stressed, but you won’t be adding to it either.