Saturday, March 8, 2014

There and Back Again: A Walkway Story

For those of you not from the North East, it has been a long winter this year.  We have had lots of snow, it has been very grey, and the "polar vortex" has visited way too many times this year.  On a day like today, when there is actually sunshine and the temperature is above freezing, everyone gets a raging case of Spring Fever and needs to get outside and do something.  It was almost 50 today (heatwave!), so I decided to go take a stroll on the Walkway Over the Hudson.  Many, many people had the same idea.

First tip for local people: the big free spot where people park?  Not plowed.  I was lucky to get a spot in the pay-parking lot.  I was cool with that as I am crap at parallel parking, which was the only other option.  I go to pay my $5 at the machine, and it isn't accepting cash.  Three of us tried.  Back to the car to get a credit card, as that option was working, and I had no desire to get a ticket or get back and find my car towed.

Finally make it out onto the Walkway, and see this lovely sign:

Work zone?  Well that made me a bit twitchy.  I have a thing about bridges.  When I was little I saw footage on television of a bridge collapsing in a flood, and all of the cars on it going into the water.  Many people drowned.  When we covered escaping from a car in the water during Driver's Ed.  in high school I was probably the most attentive student the teacher had ever seen.  I hate, hate, going over bridges in cars.  I'm better if I am driving and watching the road.  Low bridges are okay, bridges like the Brooklyn Bridge with lots of nice safe metal on the side are best.  I worry the entire time crossing the bridge that it is going to collapse, my car is going to go into the water and I am going to drown, and that will seriously piss me off because I am an excellent swimmer.  That's how my brain works, folks:  not worried about falling from a height, anything else falling in top of me, freezing cold water -- just that fact that I might not have a chance to swim away from it.  

The Walkway doesn't bother me as I'm walking and it is really like a big sidewalk in the air.  I'm not afraid of heights. The sign above gave me pause because what exactly were they working on?  Are there screws falling out or something?  Railing about to fall off?  Oh well.  Not in a car, so it will be splat or swim if something goes horribly wrong.  Besides, if it was really dangerous they wouldn't be letting people walk across it.

Turns out the work is installing an elevator.  I don't think it is finished yet.  The deck and the doors are there, but no visible elevator.

Hello, back of the elevator doors!

There had been an organized walk of some sort earlier in the morning.  They were handing out leftover bottles of water if people wanted them, which was nice.  I came prepared with my coffee so I was good to go.  

About three-quarters of the way across to the Highland side of the Walkway there was a group of three people walking toward the Poughkeepsie side, and they were handing out pamphlets.  They gave one to the three people in front of me, and one to me.  I assumed it was something to do with the walk this morning (which apparently was an International Women's Day march), so I took one.  I was so wrong.  

You have got to be kidding me

I believe my exact words were something eloquent like, "What the hell is this?"  And apparently I said them a little louder than I thought, as the guy in front of me started cracking up.  I must really look like I am Satan's Spawn.  Thirteen visits from the God Squad apparently are not enough!  Now I have people trying to save me in the middle of the Hudson River. The part on the back of the pamphlet where it says "Compliments of:" is blank, but I was able to skim and learn that it is written by Ray Comfort.   It basically goes on about the 10 Commandments, assumes that you are a sinner who has broken them and will be going to Hell, and then compares you to a criminal standing before a judge to try and scare you into accepting their point of view.  Perfect thing to hand out to strangers on a beautiful day!  Oh, and then you are to entrust your life to Jesus Christ, and read and obey the Bible every day.  

The walk back from Highland was much less eventful.  Just beautiful weather, lots of people not proselytizing, and some boats and trains going past.

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