Hometown Tragedy, Viewed From Afar

It’s been weird watching the news coverage of the Minneapolis bridge collapse from my comfortable desk on the East Coast. I spent my early years in Minneapolis (the green arrow above points roughly to my childhood home; the blue arrow points to the bridge in question) and, although we left for the wilds of New Jersey when I was an early teen, I have always considered Minnesota to be my “home state”. I’ve rooted for the Twins and the Vikings my whole life and likely will until I’m a senseless old coot. I’ve always felt a connection back to MN, but I must say that I’ve never felt as disconnected, both psychologically and physically than I have today.
Watching the footage of the collapse and the interviews with survivors and anxious family members made me realize how little I know of the city any more. We traveled over that bridge countless times to get the U of M, which sits across the Mississippi from the section of town where I used to live, and yet I don’t remember the bridge specifically. If I strain really hard, I can almost imagine remembering seeing it as we made our way to my parents’ car to head back home after visits to the U’s orthodontics school (hey, if you let the ortho students do your braces, they’re extra cheap!). I remember loving the lakes, loving the Metrodome, rooting for the Gophers and hating the [North]Stars after their traitorous trip to Dallas.
I’ve dropped a line to my parents to see if they’ve heard from anyone at the old church, heard whether anyone we knew was hurt or (Heaven forbid) killed in the collapse. Until I hear back from them, I guess I’ll just be left with this weird numbness. This sort of stuff just isn’t supposed to happen these days, you know?
Further reactions: Buzz.MN has continuing coverage from Minneapolis Star-Tribune staffers (including Lileks), while Captain Ed and the Powerline guys have blogger reactions while Popular Mechanics ran an excoriatory piece laying the blame at the feet of politicians and citizens unwilling to foot the bill for infrastructure assurance.