Wednesday, July 25, 2007


That's the clever name -- or at least I always thought it was clever -- of a Nashville deli-style eatery, famous for its Jewish specialties like matzoh ball soup. There's a location about two miles from Noel's folks' house, a hand-me-down from his paternal step-grandparents, in the fashionable Belle Meade village. (Al Gore built a new house a couple of years ago, a block down from where I'm typing right now.)

Not that I'm sitting in a mansion; no, this neighborhood has relatively modest post-war split-level ranch houses cheek-by-jowl with looming Spanish three-story jobs constructed in the last decade. I'm in one of the former. I'll bet this property could sell for big bucks as a tear-down, considering the ritzy location, but I don't know that selling is a possibility for my in-laws -- not as long as the parents who gave them the house are still around to be hurt if it's treated like a commodity rather than a bequest.

I drove the last two thirds of the journey here, starting in West Memphis. Normally I don't take the wheel until after we've crossed the Mississippi, because I have gephyrophobia -- a fear of driving over bridges. I don't know when it started, but the first time I noticed it as something debilitating was when we moved to Conway. I made sure I was driving the car, not the rental truck, when we got to the I-40 bridge over the Mississippi, and even then it was all I could do to keep going. I remember just fixating on the back of the truck that Noel was driving and chanting "you're almost there, you're almost there" to myself -- out loud -- in order to make it across.

But Noel was very tired today because he stayed up late last night (for the 13-inning Braves game) and didn't sleep well, and when he's not at ease driving I can't relax either. I took over after lunch, about fifteen miles before the river crossing, and I found as I drove that I wasn't getting nervous about the bridge. Somewhat to my surprise, I drove across with no anxiety, conversing easily with Noel.

I don't know if that means my phobia is gone, or whether I'm just used to that bridge; the thought of a high bridge still makes me squirm. But it was an unexpected moment of growth in the middle of a trip where I mostly anticipate headaches. (No offense to my in-laws meant; I just dread dealing with the kids' disrupted routines and sleep patterns. And aside from the mostly pleasant journey here, that's what we're dealing with so far -- the kids are yelling at each other in their common bedroom even as I type. Here's hoping this doesn't set the pattern for the next three days.)


the secret knitter said...

I wouldn't call it a phobia, but I know what you mean when driving on bridges. The one across the Ohio linking Cincinnati and northern Kentucky makes me a little nervous behind the wheel. Maybe it has something to do with the weird sensation of seeing how high up you are.

Adam Villani said...

Hm, I've always found it exciting. A woman where I used to work was so afraid of bridges that she routed her commute to completely avoid freeway overpasses and the like. The odd thing is that she had no problem at all with riding on big roller coasters.

stevie said...

You're not alone. I'm terrified of driving on the highway and forget about bridges.

Have fun in Nashville! I liked Belle Meade when we were there. I hope the kids calm down a bit.