Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Gephyrophobia is the debilitating fear of bridges, which I'd guess more than a few northern Dutchess and Kingston-area residents feel any time they have to cross over the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge. Amazing view, but looking to the left or right can be a bit queasy-making, especially if the wind's blowing. Still, if you want to get across the river there's no alternative to the bridge until that long-hoped-for Saugerties-Tivoli ferry starts up. Which brings us to the curious case of a Staten Islander named Jan Steers, who's lived with gephyrophobia for 13 years.

To re-state: she's scared to death of bridges, and lives on Staten Island.

Which strikes me as very much like being scared of the color green while living next to a golf course. But I'm trying to be the better man here, and so I will wish her all the best as she attempts to battle her phobia, even though the ghost of Sam Kinison is on my left shoulder in a little devil suit, doing his "we have deserts in America" routine about Ethiopians.

Buried in the Times article is this useful piece of information:
...the New York Thruway Authority will lead bridge phobics over the Tappan Zee, the longest span in the state. A reluctant driver can call the authority in advance and arrange to be driven across the bridge in his or her own car by a patrol operator. The authority receives a half dozen such requests a year, officials there say.

Which does make more sense for the rest of us than suddenly getting stuck behind somebody who panics mid-bridge.

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