There used to be a bridge abutment just north of the Monroe Street Bridge in Spokane. It was there for a gazillion years, or at least since I was six years old in 1956. In my mind, it was the start of a bridge to nowhere. It just stood there, alone, facing the bridge, acting like it might be part of something big – but what? Maybe a trestle for a train bridge across the Spokane River? Maybe a trestle for a foot bridge?
What it became was a communication panel for a million messages from birthday wishes to marriage proposals through decades of people coming together with their paint brushes and paint buckets. Never during the day time. Always in the middle of the night. Like some secretive society, spontaneously appearing, swathing out their message for the world to see as they idled in traffic during countless treks across the bridge.
Why do I know??? One night of shooting pool and three beers later, I found myself on the bridge with several other people as we whitewashed the abutment for the probably ten millionth time, and then prepared our message: Happy Birthday Diana! Black letters on white background. Sitting on layers upon layers upon layers of countless messages before it. It was 3:00 in the morning. On a work night.
It stayed there for at least a week, until the next group of phantom artists rendered their own, new message in the middle of the night.
It was a sad day when that piece of artwork was torn down with its thousands, or millions, of words splashed on its face.