Now, I’m no expert on the subject, but I imagine most inventions spring from a desire to meet a need to which we don’t already have a solution. Like when the cave man - sprinting along to escape the fangs of a saber cat - would encounter a river, and be like; crap, I need to cross, but I really can’t get my brand new mammoth loafers wet… Maybe if I dump these rocks in the water I can tip-toe over! And boom - the first bridge had seen the light of day.
I often wonder what it would be like to possess the skills and savvy to actually invent something. The twists and turns from recognizing that hey, there’s something missing here, to think up a solution and figure out how to actually create the gadget or whatever it might be, are boggling to me. I guess, if we pay attention, we probably encounter several situations during one day that make us go “why haven’t anyone figured out a way to…?”, we wish there was that certain something out there that could make our lives easier, but we accept the peril, and go about life like we usually do, justifiably disgruntled in a self-righteous kindda way. The world is, after all, designed to bring us down. I mean, what would we do if we couldn’t complain about stuff?
Most times, though, we don’t realize that we did in fact need that certain something until we see it. Like how the can opener wasn’t invented until some 40 years after the can, which is awesome in its own right (This may be an urban myth, but I have decided to believe it to be true). Growing up, the answering machine was the high point of modern technology - at least on a domestic scale - and I still remember with glee the day I got my first iPod. And then they went ahead and transmogrified the darn thing into a phone! Excuse me while I pick my brain up from off the floor…
I’ve always been fascinated by bridges. To me, they are the most magnificent of constructions (perhaps apart from the pyramids, but let’s be honest, we all know the ET’s had a little somethin’ somethin’ to do with that…) I love looking at them, and I love contemplating not only the purpose they serve, but also what they represent. A bridge is obviously a practical concoction, a means to get from A to B. But it’s more so a way to connect people, cities, and countries, and I like to see a bridge as a symbol of good intent, an understanding of the fact that we need to connect, to not stay separated by a canyon or a river. Of course, this is highly romanticized, but still.
Whenever I stare up at a bridge - or stand upon one - I feel like an insignificant speck of dust in a very big universe. I think about the magnitude of creating such a colossal where once there was only a river bank and some - for the most parts - really deep water. How in the holy heck do you even go about building a bridge? Suspending concrete strong enough to hold a million cars into thin air, resting it only on a few pillars dug into the sandy riverbed, doing calculations and math so tight that it’s absolutely guaranteed not to collapse, is beyond me. I bow deep to the brainiacs who can pull that off!
My favorite one is the Varrazano-Narrows Bridge, connecting Brooklyn and Staten Island. With its whopping 4,260 feet - making it the longest suspension bridge in the US - it’s truly magnificent to behold. In my opinion, the slick towers and clean, streamlined design makes it a visual masterpiece, and a testimonial to human strength, willpower, and industrious capability. However, unlike most other NYC-bridges, It is sadly not equipped with a walking trail. One of the few times it’s possible to access it without a car is during the marathon, so unless I decide to run - which, let’s face it, is highly unlikely - I’ll have to covet it from afar.