I have always wanted to be somebody, I just never knew what, since I’ve always been the proverbial round peg trying to fit into a square hole. In school, I was always pretty much an outsider and a loner, so I never fit in with the in crowd. As a young man I had too hot of a temper to be a hippie. As an adult, my choice of living in small towns, and my perpetual state of poverty, prevented me from being a yuppie. And so the story went. But not any more. I now have a title! I’m a gephyrophobiac!
And I never would have known it, if it weren’t for Bob and Sandra Swanson, who called me their favorite gephyrophobiac in an e-mail the other day. I had to look it up to see what the heck they meant! For a second there, I was afraid that they thought I had an STD! 🙂
In case you’re wondering, a gephyrophobiac is somebody with a fear of bridges. I never knew there was an actual name for my own personal anxiety disorder. I just figured I was weird. Well, okay, I’ve always known I was weird, but now I have a name for my weirdness. How cool is that!
While we are looking forward to spending part of our summer at Thousand Trails campgrounds along the Oregon and Washington coasts, one thing I am not looking forward to is crossing the Columbia River on the Astoria-Megler bridge. At 4.1 miles, it is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America, and back in the days when I was in the newspaper business in that part of the world, I crossed the bridge on a regular basis. I’ve been over it in cars, pickup trucks, vans, and even on a motorcycle. But the first time we approached it in an RV, I took one look and said “No way!” and drove 50 miles out of my way to cross the river at a shorter, easier bridge at Longview, Washington, and then backtracked another 75 miles back to Long Beach, almost across the river from Astoria, How dumb is that?
Here is a You Tube video of a trip across the bridge from the Oregon side. It probably doesn’t seem like much to most of you, but to those of us with gephyrophobia (man, I LOVE having a title! 🙂 ) it’s terrifying. So what will happen when we come to the bridge this year? Will I tough it out and drive across? Will I wimp out and drive all the way to Longview to cross the river again? Miss Terry tells me she can drive the motorhome across the bridge if I can’t, and I have no doubt she can. (Another reason why both people in an RV should know how to drive the thing! As for you solo RVers, you have more courage than I ever will.) So maybe I’ll just hide in the bedroom until we’re safely across. Time will tell.
I know that the way to overcome our fears is to face them head on, and I’ve done that. There was a time when I was absolutely terrified of public speaking. The first time I was asked to present a seminar at an RV rally, I threw up three times walking from our motorhome to the seminar room. But somehow I got through it, and now I love getting up on stage in front of a crowd and acting like an idiot.
Last year I drove our Winnebago across the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan, even though that bridge also scares me to death. So I know I can do it if I really have to. But how far must I push myself? Can’t I just enjoy being a gephyrophobiac for a while?
Okay, I told you mine, now you tell me yours. We’re all afraid of something. What scares you, and how do you handle it? Does it impact your RV lifestyle? Come on, don’t be shy. Inquiring minds want to know.
Unfortunately, nobody holds telethons for gephyrophobiacs, so I still have to work to make a living. I spent part of yesterday contacting several interesting places in Oregon that we want to visit and do stories on while we’re up in that area, including the Evergreen Air & Space Museum, where the Spruce Goose is on display, as well as Sea Lion Caves, and some other attractions I’m looking forward to writing about. We’ll be spending most of June on the Oregon coast, so if you have any suggestions of things to see in that area, please let me know.
I also uploaded two older non-fiction books of mine to the Amazon Kindle program, and they should go live sometime tomorrow. You can read all about that in a new post to my self-publishing blog about my progress in e-book publishing so far.
Thought For The Day – When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.