Neither Gretel nor I is an engineer. We don’t understand how bridges stand up and how blimps fly. We just have to trust that others do, and that they will have done their jobs well, keeping the rest of us safe. Yesterday, we were sitting at a red light in Edgewater, MD when we noticed a large Zeppelin tracking the traffic, just yards above us and behind a small copse. It was close enough for us to read U.S. Navy on the side–the blow up was part of the Annapolis Naval Academy blow out for yesterday’s Army/Navy game.
Suddenly the balloon took a nose dive coming directly at us through the trees. The traffic light changed and for a horrible moment it looked as though Gretel and I and the giant airship were all going to hit route 2 at exactly the same time. We were little more than screeching distance from the men in the mobile home which dangled under the belly of the balloon. Death by dirigible–not good.
No one else seemed to be alarmed, although the story did make it to the Capital and you can see a short video of the Zep coming into land at Lee Airport here. Had the shot been slightly wider you would have seen the shocked faces of Gretel and I barely behind the balloon.
Our plans yesterday were to take us to the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake, to an outlet mall on the other side of the Bay Bridge. The 20 mile suspension bridge is considered one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern world and has hosted 100 million motorists and passengers since the original span was opened in 1964. Gretel doesn’t like it at the best of times and today she felt that it might be an engineering feat too far, given our close encounter with the airship. But she will push herself to the limits for a trip to Aeropostale and so we persevered. ” I suppose they do do maintenance?” she asked nervously as we climbed to the center of the span, high above the choppy waters of the Chesapeake. I assured her they did. “Isn’t it a problem that it sways?” was her next question and I told her that I think the swaying helps–actually makes it safer, although I don’t really understand how this works. As I say, we are not engineers.
We made it home with a mountain of bags from Gap and Old Navy, Aeropostale and Timberland. We avoided any routes with railroad crossings. No point in tempting fate three times in one day.