The day the Towers came down my grandparents called me from Florida in a near panic, begging me not to go to work that afternoon.
I half listened to my grandmother drawl on about how it wasn’t safe to go over the bridge, the bridge could be a target, they might not be done.
I laughed to myself quietly, phone to ear, eyes on the television as part of our world crumbled and burned.
The bridge in question was the Gold Star Bridge that spans across the Thames River between Groton and my city, New London, Connecticut.
“No one’s going to bomb the bridge, Gram,” I told her, probably rolling my eyes as I was wont to do when I was just shy of nineteen.
“But it could be a target,” she insisted. “You’ve got the sub base on one side of the bridge and the factory where they make the nuclear submarines on the other!”
You can bet your ass she pronounced it nuc-u-lear.
The bridge was fine that day, and it’s been just fine ever since, but for the last fifteen years or so now there have been times I have driven its expanse and given my grandmother credit where it’s due.
That bridge could be a target, this whole area could be, and now things are starting to feel a little closer to home, as it were.
I live in New London, Connecticut.
I’ve lived in and around this area my whole life, and you grow used to the uniqueness of this area when you’ve been in it long enough.
We have our own language that one grows privy to when you live within a few miles of a Naval submarine base and the United States Coast Guard Academy.
Coasties, squids, Grotopotomusses, the Brig, underway, brown shirts, et cetera.
Once every four years at least, traffic in the entire area goes into gridlock when the bridge and Interstate 95 is closed down when the president comes to give the Commencement address to the Coastie graduates.
Twice a year we get a packet of information from Dominion, the company that runs Millstone, our local nu-cu-lar power plant that presides blazing in all its glory over our little corner of Long Island Sound.
Our local economy, our schools, our job market, the crowds at the beach – everything revolves around submarines in this area.
It’s sort of our thing.
This morning I woke up to a flood of posts on Facebook alerting me that a Russian spy ship has been spotted loitering 30 miles off the coast of Connecticut, posturing, showing off, flexing it’s big, scary Russian muscles.
Some people freaked the hell out. Some people, like me, realized that this isn’t exactly new news. We have ships from all sorts of navies patrolling International Waters around here, but I guess everyone is particularly on edge these days, especially when it comes to the Russians.
What world is this, what year, what time?
I guess the Cold War never did end, because word on the street is the Russians are spying, they’re getting closer, they’re here!
Everyone is scared and everything is scary, and here I am just scared that I am not going to get this blog post written in time, and scared that my inability to overcome my procrastination disease will ruin me before I even have a chance to shine.
Honestly, who are we kidding? I would barely be able to hide how excited I would be if I found some Russian spies among the Squids and Old Guard.
Despite how any of this sounds, it’s actually a really boring place to live.