Since the Minnesota bridge collapse, there's been a lot of talk about our country's "aging infrastructure" (for whatever reason, that phrase always makes me think of old ladies' bras). The bridges, roads, and buildings are all in such disrepair - usually because of the government, the liberals, or the Mexicans depending on who you ask - that we are taking our lives into our own hands by simply waking up in the morning.
Americans like this feeling. Like we're somehow taking a risk by leaving our homes, subjecting ourselves to harm. Harm from illegal immigrants, the bird flu, Osama bin Laden, gay marriages, and the road falling out from under us. The only thing holding our hearts above those of others is our unshakable faith in the Almighty White Heterosexual Christian God.
However, unlike illegal aliens and Adam and Steve nuptials, bridges falling down is kind of a problem, inasmuch as it's happened in the recent past and the Department of Transportation is trying to do something about it.
Now, Washington, Missouri may be behind the curve on lots of things - our public schools don't have air-conditioning and every TV in McDonald's dining room is tuned to Fox News - but this ain't one of them. You see, last December, one of the buildings on Main Street fell down. The details are sketchy (or, rather, I don't remember them all), but the building didn't fall because of some sort of controlled demolition, but rather because it was old and in disrepair. After the smoke cleared and the street re-opened, the fathers of the community decided it was time to do a little maintenance. Since then the buildings, streets, and sidewalks of this tiny little river town have been busted up almost every day.
The building pictured above, the old Bank of Washington building, is right around the corner from my apartment. In fact, if you make a left at that "Road Closed" sign, you could ring my bell. As I was leaving for work (at 8:17 this morning) I saw this angry customer taking a bite of the brick wall.
I've seen buildings go up slowly. I've seen sledgehammers tear through drywall like it's paper. I don't know that I've ever seen a brick wall actually crumble until this morning on my way to work.
Of course, I've never seen a man shot and killed, either, nor have I seen a person suffer from bird flu or have the sanctity of their marriage eroded because a couple of gay guys want to be happy.*
All in all, I've been pretty lucky, and that is that.
*Take it from me, gay guys, if you really want to be happy, you'll find a way to get married without having a wedding.