When alien monsters attack the United States, what three landmarks will they surely target for destruction? Obviously the Empire State Building in New York. Irresistible! Maybe the White House, a la Independence Day. How about Mount Rushmore? For my money, the first place that galactic invaders will obliterate is San Francisco’s prized monument: the Golden Gate Bridge. What is more iconic than this beautiful, red bridge, with its art deco towers and its sweeping arc of cables? There’s something about the Golden Gate Bridge that evokes the notion of freedom and possibility. After all, San Francisco is built along a bay, with the bridge dividing the inner bay from the outer Pacific Ocean. In essence, the Golden Gate Bridge signifies the gateway from an urban metropolis to a wider world. Finally, there’s something about the physical placement of the bridge that inspires awe. As it reaches its arms out from Fort Point to the south to Marin County to the north, one can’t help marveling that anyone would even try to build a bridge at this wild and windswept spot. Imagine that it’s 1937 and Joseph Strauss, the chief engineer for the bridge, stands up and says, “I can do it. I can span these straits. Neither frigid waters, nor sharks, nor dangerous riptides will dissuade me from building this bridge with the fabulous technology available in 1937!” He didn’t actually say this, but he could have! The Golden Gate Bridge is an engineering marvel. Of course our alien overlords would target it to break our spirit! Just like they did in such movies as It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), Superman (1978), The Core (2003), 10:5 (2004), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Monsters vs. Aliens (2009), Pacific Rim (2013), Godzilla (2014), San Andreas (2015), and Terminator Genisys (2015). Leave our bridge alone for gawd sakes!!!

Since you never know when the monsters are coming, Donica and I decide to greet the New Year with our pal, the Golden Gate Bridge. Arriving at the Headlands at 7am on a cold, windy morning, we join a hearty group of fellow dawn worshippers for a gorgeous winter sunrise, with old sol peeking its head up directly though the span of the bridge, the San Francisco skyline glimmering in the background. Just lovely. Afterwards, we proceed to the second part of our evil scheme –running across the bridge — something I’ve thought about doing for years but never actually gotten around to it. Don’t let anyone fool you; it’s not an easy run. Along with the cold and the wind, a bridge run involves a 1.7 mile trot in each direction, AND it’s not flat. Your path slopes up in the middle! Throw in the incessant fog and you have a fairly challenging athletic endeavor. But it’s so worth it! For the views…for the camaraderie with your fellow runners…and for the self satisfaction of checking off another item from your bucket list. We complete our Golden Gate Bridge run successfully, and we do it fast! Who knows when you’ll see a giant tentacle emerging from the ocean, eager to take its turn at bridge bashing?!!

(What’s on your bucket list? And what are you waiting for? Until you retire, perhaps? Who knows if you’ll have your health or your mobility by then? You can always make more money. No more lollygagging! Do you bucket list items this year, not next! I’m not saying the space creatures from Alpha Centauri are on their way to Earth… but they might be! Seize the Day!)