(Video) Slice of Life: the one-lane bridge

(This is part of the Slice of Life project)

Each weekday morning, I drive my youngest son to his preschool before heading into work at my school, which is a few towns over. The easiest way to get there is over a small, one-lane bridge. For much of the past year, the bridge was closed down for repairs and I wondered if it would ever be opened again. One-lane bridges seem passe and more than a few communities just shutter them forever, or for pedestrian traffic, rather than invest in them.

But the bridge finally re-opened a number of weeks ago, cutting down my commute by a good ten minutes and allowing me to avoid downtown Northampton altogether. That’s good.

One thing I like about this bridge — although it was only later that I realized it — is that you have to make eye contact with other people on the road. Since only one vehicle can pass at a time, you have to slow down, gauge where the other car on the other side of the bridge is and either pull over to let them pass or wait for them do pull over for you. I am almost always pleasantly surprised by how often we move aside for each other.  Only rarely does a driver take advantage of the situation and hog the bridge. The other day, for example, some idiot tried to pass me on the left (narrow street that gets narrower as it leads to the bridge) as I was slowly making my way forward. I’m not one of those “flip the bird” kind of people but that guy almost got it that morning.

After coming over the bridge, almost everyone looks the driver of the waiting vehicle in the eye, gives a little wave to acknowledge the kindness of waiting, smiles and then continues onward. I love this part of the bridge. Too often in our cars and vans, we are just mindless drones (remember those overweight space humans in WallE?) but this tiny bridge forces some humanity upon us, moving us to recognize each other as people. As I drive to my school, I often wonder where those other people — the ones who smiled — are going and what their day will be like, and whether they are wondering about me.

Peace (in the waiting),

  1. That’s a cool way to begin the day. So I’m figuring you used a Flip and you were driving as you caught the moment. Did you write the text first or was it spontaneous.
    BTW, we got the grant for the Ianthology. It came to Tom and I didn’t get the other grant I applied for which is okay. They didn’t want to give a site more than one. I can understand that.
    But it would be nice if we heard directly. Maybe that will arrive today. Let me know if you hear something,

  2. Glad to see the bridge is open at last. It’s been soooo long, I forgot about the option and either continue down Florence road into Florence or take Rt 10.

  3. Kevin, I am always impressed with your integrating technology into these posts and your classroom! Seems you have fun with it also.
    By the way, how did you learn to drive and film at the same time? Cell phone, cup of coffee, drive through meals??

  4. Love the idea of the video slice Kevin, and this has that small moment of beauty quality and meaning that I try to encourage my students to look for. Thanks for sharing.

  5. It was not that hard to film and drive, honest. I just kept my hand on the wheel and eyes straight ahead and hoped the video came out OK. It did.
    Perhaps others can give the video slice a try?

  6. This slice was fantastic. I just recently bought a video camera and I can’t wait to do a video slice!

    That one way bridge was very cool—Thanks for sharing.

  7. The few times I’ve driven over one lane bridges, I’ve had the same pleasant surprise. I, too, like that the nature of the bridge pushes us to be neighborly with strangers.

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