Through the Cracks: The West Seattle Bridge as a Microcosm of Everything.
I wrote this in April 2020 and its pretty much right on the money
If you live here you are lucky. You can drive over to the West Seattle Bridge and look at Everything. You can see it all there. It might just look like a bridge to you, but if you sit with it for a moment you will start to see everything. The West Seattle Bridge embodies all that we are experiencing now. Our reality is crumbling, our connections have been critically injured. It is a structure collapsing under its own weight.
Mid-thirties and broke, the West Seattle Bridge is the perfect millennial. Wrought with scandal from its very conception it is the platonic ideal of a big government infrastructure project. Closed at first for a few months and now possibly forever it feels eerily similar to the economic crisis caused by COVID19. Its existence was cursed, but its absence will be an even greater curse. So it is with life: we take for granted, we lose and we are shocked, we adapt but are never the same.
We are all confused and afraid of what is happening around us. The mitigation efforts put in place to deal with the current pandemic have been largely successful at flattening the curve, but we are starting to discover a plethora of new problems popping up in its place. This process could not be better embodied than in the West Seattle Bridge. We knew there were some cracks developing in the bridge, but the problem grew much quicker than anyone predicted. The bridge was closed but within a month the diagnosis grew much more grim.
It is not clear if the bridge can be fixed. Is this not a fear that many have for the world? At least for our economy? The closing of the bridge temporarily was an annoyance, but one that could be tolerated for a time. What can the residents of West Seattle do with the knowledge that such a critical piece of their reality will never be the same, during or after quarantine? The West Seattle Bridge is the tip of the iceberg, a harbinger of the things that we will lose, proof that we will not return to the “old normal.”