The Arch in St. Louis is gigantic.

The last time I was in Italy, I finally went to the Tower of Pisa.  I expected it to be impressive, if not huge; a symbol of Italian craftsmanship and beauty, while simultaneously acting as a living monument to the fragility of existence.  What a crock of merda that was.

By my own admission, I should have known that a building cannot lean and be huge at the same time.  In my defence, I am a graduate of philosophy; engineering is supposed to be my natural enemy in the wild.  Nonetheless, it was an old building in the middle of a field and being there, seeing it up close, made me realize that the pictures gave it a largess that reality just could not sustain.

I return to my opening remark:  the Arch in St. Louis is gigantic.  You can see it as you drive into the city, and not because the city is small or it’s close to the highway.  I return to my opening remark: the Arch in St. Louis is gigantic.

Ok, that’s not the Arch. But that’s what I expected it to be.

The Gateway to the West, (hopefully the topic of a future blog soon (check local listings)) construction of the Arch began early 1963 and finished in the Fall of 1965.  It is a monument to America and its expansion to the West.  Resting close to the banks of the mighty* Mississippi river, it stands 630 feet off the ground.  And that, my friends, is 630 feet higher than I was willing to go. 

Rob has gone to the top, as there is an observation deck where one can see the entire city, and probably a few other things that are really high up.  I thought it was possible to persuade me.  Indeed, it would have been had I been blinding drunk or drugged or blindfolded or beaten about the head repeatedly with a blunt instrument or, most importantly, I hadn’t seen the Arch.  When I thought it was just a nice, benign landmark like our friend the leaning tower, it was possible to envision a world where I wasn’t deathly afraid of heights and could tell everyone that I had, in some measure, no matter how small, conquered my fear.  But, reality being as it is, I defer to my opening statement: the Arch of St. Louis is gigantic. 

I am still a better person for having seen it.  And I vow, one day, to go inside and get to the top.  Sigh…I’d go to the top of Pisa in a heartbeat, leaning and all.

*yeah, I wrote ‘mighty’ when referring to the Mississippi.  I know it’s cliche.  It’s hard coming up with adjectives all the time.  You try it.