Monday, August 03, 2009

Bridges Today

Bristol Harbour festival and the footbridge on the waterfront has been temporarily designated one-way in the most serious three bouncer enforced way. The disbelief created by people who unexpectedly find they cannot cross the bridge is messily scattered and kicked around on the cobbles. The amiable bouncers take the abuse with humour,‘have a nice day sir.’

A man in his late fifties with more to the right of his bald patch than the left, remonstrates persistently with the bouncer whose head’s a pumpkin. ‘But it’s a bridge,’ the man argues hoping that in light of this new information the bouncer will relent and let him through. To this man wronged, with his most inconsistent hair, this temporary arrangement is a sick perversion equivalent to the cross-breeding a spaniel to a photograph of a spade. The long suffering target of this man’s anger opens his arms as only bouncers can and spots his favourite cloud – ‘there’s nothing I can do.’. He’s right: his only job is to stop people walking the wrong way over a bridge; to let one man through would be as unprofessional as Wogan screaming ‘Fucking tune!’ over a fading Will Young track.

Eventually the man turns away and breaths in everybody’s oxygen through a nostril he selected before the show. With his bemused mother he walks away turning occasionally to shout another obscenity, his pointing finger bent through embarassment about what its attached to. ‘It’s not worth it, it’s really not’ his mother argues patting his elbow.

As his anger fades, sadness grows. He probably remembers when times were simpler - when footbridges were bidirectional 365 days a year and the only bouncers you’d see on bridges were bouncers crossing bridges. But these are the times we live in.

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