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Stalking Vol 2: The Bridge of Reason


"Let’s see if it’s not important." Bonnie looked over the wide inlet, her eyes settling on the
farthest point of Stanley Park that we could see, which was the Second Beach Pool only a few
hundred yards away.
"What does the bridge communicate?"
"Traffic, I guess," I said a moment later, understanding that extending her line of sight
beyond the pool would transect the causeway leading to the Lions Gate Bridge.
"That’s what it facilitates. I said communicate."
"You’ll have to explain what you’re after."
"Finally some honesty," she whispered as if to herself. "A few months ago, I said you can't
live in between fact and fiction without confusing what you want with what you think is
necessary, or eventually taking what you think you’re entitled to. Living in-between can only
generate fear of the unknown, and confusion about what you think you know, because there is no
true standard to rely on if the standard is moving—like a dance." She looked toward Second
Beach. "That structure is a bridge of communication: goods, services, and workers cross it every
day, but the knowledge and intentions of about sixty-thousand people cross into the city as well,
and all of them are spreading what they think they know, or need to know, to achieve their daily
goals." She widened her eyes in inquiry.
"I can see that."
"The assumptions of the people crossing it include the certainty that the structure is
categorically stable, and how long it takes to make the commute, while anticipating the
inevitable summer construction. Most of them," she smirked, "having learned the benefits of
meshing when two lanes become one, also assume this courtesy." She entwined her fingers.
"Most," I agreed.
"In other words, the bridge is reasoned to be structurally sound and predictably timely,
assuming the cooperation of all who use it. It is the truth to most people, when it actually
represents a means to reaching another destination. This is why they call it a bridge and not a
fact." She raised her brow playfully.
"You’re saying our language is the bridge to facts, and our cooperative assumptions smooth
the way?"
"I am, and…?"
"Neither is the truth; we’re just heading that way?"
"Yes, and if something isn’t exactly the truth, but represents it, it’s still not the truth."
"Understood," I said warily.
"Consider the impact on Vancouver if the bridge wobbled."
"Economic instability?"
"Don’t guess."
"Uncertainty."
"Now you’re getting it: think of our culture as a suspension bridge that bounces slightly with
every step, and each rebound as a nuance of interpretation tha t is the wiggle room that keeps
people more or less centered. What you can’t detect is the lateral sway of the structure; we’ll call
that our consensus conformation overlooking a fact, because you are looking down at your
reasons—each of them being a plank moving in sync with the sway."
"I’ve got the picture."
"What would standing on that bridge be like if you could break the spell of your
conformation, and for a second look off to one side?"
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