I was almost set to leave work on Wednesday when I heard the word "Minneapolis" being buzzed about. I'm in Seattle now, but the Twin Cities are my hometowns, so I started paying attention, and of course...that's when I heard about the bridge.
I wasn't exactly sure which one it was (it didn't really have a name, though now they're acting like everyone called it the 35W bridge). But once Rob and I talked about it, we realized that when I lived at home and worked downtown, my express bus went over it every single day for 3-4 years.
I was lucky. As far as I know, no one in my family or circle of friends was on the bridge when it collapsed. We called and called, and so many times received a "all circuits are busy" message. When we finally got through to one friend, she answered with "We're OK! We're all OK!", the reply that had replaced "Hello" as she received call after call from worried out-of-towners.
My niece was reportedly close to crossing the bridge -- on her way to the Twins game. She thinks she was a minute or so away, and she had been delayed by forgetting something and having to go back for it. Guardian angels? Maybe.
But it's still soul-shocking to see YOUR places, your streets, your local newscasters all over the national news, even though you'd think, working in a national newsroom, I'd be all journalistic and blase. Not so much, my friends. That's my Minnesota, and it's always felt like a safe haven. If anything, I worried about the flimsy bridges here in Seattle, never giving a thought to those in Minnesota.
Here is the front page from my former employer, the Star Tribune newspaper, and from the neighboring Pioneer Press. Very much something to see. I'm only glad it wasn't worse.