As everyone who reads this blog is aware by now, we live on an island. It's really only an island by virtue of the fact that the entirety of the east side of our island is separated from the "mainland" of Florida by the Intercoastal Water Way. The entire west side is ocean. So we are surrounded by water. It really doesn't matter if it's Intercoastal water or ocean water, it's still water. Water that is too deep and too wide for a car to just drive through with a mighty splash.
This means that any time a person enters or leaves, they must go over a bridge (or swim or boat I suppose).
There are three different bridges to get on and off Venice Island. One on the north end, one roughly in the middle and one on the south end. And all three of them are Draw Bridges.
Which means that, from time to time, as you are merrily driving along intending to get on or off Venice Island, you may be faced with the above.
First there is the blasting of the warning horn. And believe you me it is loud! Then the "thou shall not pass" bar comes down with that dingdingding sound that I associate with a train coming down the tracks. And then ever so slowly, the bridge separates in the middle and rises so that tall masted boats or just tall boats, can pass beneath.
And that means you are going to have to wait until A) the boat(s) goes through B) the bridge has come up and gone back down and C) the "thou shall not pass" bar has gone back up. It's really not very long and there are things to look at while you wait, other cars, pedestrians who somehow think that the STOP only applies to cars so they walk up anyway and then are surprised that they also have to wait (that's always amusing), birds and of course boats.
Those of us who live here, even part time, are accustomed to this and factor in extra time for the drawbridge.....just in case...whenever we leave to go somewhere. Visitors however, are not always so sanguine about it all. In fact some of them kind of lose their minds a little bit. They huff and puff and honk their horns (because everyone knows that honking your horn helps - not) as they rest of us, turn up the radio, sing along, have a conversation and just relax for a minute. Island time people! The Drawbridge is part of that whole dealio.
Venice Island isn't the only place with a drawbridge entrance here. The state is lousy with them. Most of them are very similar to the one above. But some you have to pay to go over like the bridge to Gasparilla Island. And at least one that I know of is a one way bridge so only one car at a time can cross that would be the bridge at Blackburn Point.
But not every bridge is a drawbridge. There is the magnificent Skyway Bridge that we cross on the way to Tampa for example
If a boat cannot pass beneath this bridge, it's just too dang tall! This particular bridge is occasionally closed due to high winds. Yeah. Think about that. Then you have to take the long way 'round. Plan B.
Then there are the little bridges that you probably don't even notice. You know the ones. They just go so smoothly over a creek or other small waterway that if you didn't read the sign you didn't even realize it. And then there are over passes. Effectively bridges over other highways. I don't care for those. I'm not afraid of them but I confess they sometimes make me uncomfortable. Unless we are driving into a big city, like Tampa, we don't have to deal with those often. It's just a general feeling of discomfort, not a full blown phobia.
And by the way, Gephyrophobia is the anxiety disorder or specific phobia characterized by the fear of bridges. As a result, sufferers of gephyrophobia may avoid routes that will take them over bridges. People who suffer this particular phobia should probably not live on the Florida Coast. I do not think there is anyplace you can go on either coast of Florida that doesn't involve some sort of bridge.
I wonder how people with the bridge phobia feel about piers? Generally we walk across them not drive, but still it's crossing and it's high up and, hmmm I am curious. Anyone know the answer?
And then there are the adorable and picturesque covered bridges in the North East, although I believe there are fewer and fewer of them as the time goes by. I wonder if those impact bridge phobic folks too? I mean it's kind of enclosed.
Or train trestles? I mean if they are travelling by train. OR subways? Or...well that's enough of that I suppose. I'm just curious.
I would never EVER make fun of somebody's phobias. I know that they are real and very serious things. Lord knows I have plenty of my own! But luckily for me, considering where we live, the bridge thing is not one of them. Whew!
Meanwhile, the rest of you who are unaccustomed to waiting for a drawbridge, it's part and parcel of being on the coast of Florida. Take a deep breath and relax. Being upset about it isn't going to make the bridge go up or down any faster.
Sort of a public service announcement
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.