A longstanding colleague and friend of mine has a longstanding fear when it comes to the Bay Bridge. This particular colleague-friend often works in concert with other people at Washington City Paper, setting the stage for two-person road trips in and around the region, sometimes as far as the Eastern Shore.

And on those occasional Ocean City-or-Dewey outings, you can bet that this particular colleague-friend will NOT be behind the wheel when crossing the Bay Bridge. And if this particular colleague-friend has to—horrors!—venture out on a solo expedition to the Eastern Shore, you can bet that he’ll be driving north, up I-95, before maneuvering in some way to avoid the Bay Bridge. The thing just haunts this particular colleague-friend.

When he does get on the Bay Bridge, he prefers that his driver keep it slow and steady, right down the middle lane of that huge span.

As phobias go, I always thought this one was kinda harmless and quaint. After all, let’s face it: Most of what lies on the other side of that bridge is worthless to begin with. Sure, there’s some chicken production going on out out east, and there’s some history, too. But the Bay Bridge is chiefly responsible for getting people to featureless, meathead-filled beaches with lame waves.

And it was of this particular colleague-friend that I thought when my wife told me on Sunday afternoon that a truck had plunged off the Bay Bridge, killing the driver. According to a news account, the truck plunged about 30 to 40 feet.

I have always experienced the Bay Bridge as an enormous treat, a nice, elevated look at a majestic spread of water and beautiful sailboats. After the truck took plowed a new exit ramp in the bridge, however, I am developing a bit more deference about the position of my colleague-friend on the perils of the Bay Bridge. Maybe I’m on the verge of adopting a phobia. Can you do that?

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