I Take My Last Chance To Burn A Bridge Or Two

[I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You) – Fall Out Boy]

I came across this article while ‘stalking’ the Tumblr of a friend of a mutual friend’s.(Yeah I am admitting to being a bit creepy. But due credit is given.)

Australian ‘angel’ saves lives at suicide spot

The story of the Golden Gate Bridge jumper, the one who didn’t survive, was one that I had actually already mentioned on this very blog, in a password protected post. This musing is not a new one, but I think I will revisit a few points nonetheless.

When I see someone crying, one of three things happen:

1. This person is a friend, to which I will probably stop and ask ‘what’s wrong’.

2. This person is not a friend, to which I will probably keep walking, because I know that I don’t want a not-friend (in the sense that the needle gauging our feelings towards each other is not neutral, but tipping towards dislike) to see me cry.

3. This person is a complete stranger, and they are completely alone. This is when I don’t know what to do.

The man in the article, Ritchie, he sees complete strangers in the act of ending their own lives, and he approaches them to talk to them. He doesn’t care what kind of person they are, he just does it. And he sometimes manages to talk people away from the edge.

All these things are amazing skills. All these things really do take someone special.

Because, if I were in his situation – living across the road from a popular suicide spot – I would probably move away. There is no way I can stay in a place where, if I look out, I see the last standing spot of many many lives.

And even if I did stay, I wouldn’t have the guts to try to stop anyone killing themselves. If I don’t do anything, then their death is their own doing. If I stepped out and still they jumped, even if the law didn’t see me as responsible, in my heart I would feel that failure. Even if there was no way to save the person, I would be plagued with ‘what if I looked up sooner, or if I ran faster, or if I just said the right thing?’

And that’s the other point where I admire Ritchie; he says the right things. He doesn’t always say the right thing, but he does and that’s what impressive. What do you say to a person in such an emotional place that they would want to take their own lives? I don’t know what they’re going through, not really. I don’t have a clue what they’ve experienced in their lives. I haven’t seen or experienced half of what is considered enough in this life to be worthy of any wisdom imparting. Ritchie says that he listens, but he doesn’t counsel. Can I really do that? It’s all so easy to say “you should…” but it’s nearly impossible to say “I’ll let you go ahead and do what you are doing” especially to a stranger. A friend, I know; I know their past, I know their thought patterns…a stranger?

Even if we’re not talking about something so drastic such as talking someone out of a suicide, then let’s just talk about the smiling part. Like I said, if I see a friend crying, I will go to comfort them, most likely. But if I see a stranger crying, would I dare? Who am I to try to comfort anyone, whose troubles probably exceed my age? What if they’re emotionally unstable, and violent? (selfishness is intrinsic, sadly.) But like the note from the jumper said, ‘if just one person smiles at me, I won’t jump’.

It’s not so hard to just smile at someone, is it? You don’t have to talk to them, you don’t have to go near them, hell, you never have to see them again. But smiling is a personal action; it opens ourselves to the other person. It’s lowering the social shield of nonchalance, and exposing the soft flesh of humanity. If we smile at someone and they so much as scowl at us, then it’s like a stab against our esteem. We think ‘what’s the point of smiling at someone who doesn’t appreciate it?’

What’s the point? Because what if this person just so happened to be waiting for your smile to save their life? You may not know it, you may never know it, and you don’t get that gratitude, so you might not see the point in it, but this person’s family or friends might.

My ending thoughts are these: I won’t tell you to go start smiling at everyone, and I definitely won’t tell you to try to talk someone out of killing themselves if they look like they’re unstable and have a weapon on them.

But if you just so happened to come across someone standing on the edge of a building, then please say something. Anything. What have you got to lose? A few wasted minutes at the most, and an unpleasant knowledge that sometimes trying isn’t enough. What have they got to lose? Well, that’s pretty obvious.

If you see a person looking a bit down, then give them a smile, or say ‘are you okay?’ I read on PostSecret all the time about the kindness of a stranger saving someone. You can be that kind stranger.

Alex.

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Another Ghost That’s Been In Your Bed

[Bubble Wrap – McFly]

Today I said goodbye to one of my best friends Cathy. She went to QLD. She’ll be back in 7 weeks for a bit but that’s not the point!

Woke up at 6:30 (I swear, I fucking swear the birds were still sleeping) and quickly had breakfast. Took a 7:40 something train up to Southern Cross, and bought a Skybus ticket. Took the bus to the airport feeling severely under-luggaged – everyone else was carrying at least one respectably sized suitcase, and I was carrying an obviously empty Country Road bag.

Caught up with Cathy and chatted for a bit, and had a good hug (I was suppressing tears, for her sake, I swear). Then took the bus back. On the way back I overheard a couple asking the lady next to me if she knew how to get to Lt Bourke St. Since I was going to Melb Central to meet with Jenny after, I offered to walk them there. Had a chat about the weather differences between Melbourne and Toronto, about why they’re here in Melbourne when there’s a Winter Olympics going on over there, and all that stuff. I was glad I decided to be the nice local for them to start a good holiday here.

Met up with Jenny, and got tickets to Daybreakers which I knew proved to be interesting as 1) it’s about vampires and 2) Jenny hates thrillers. Had lunch at Nando’s (where I discovered she couldn’t handle chilli at all) where Jenny had her first experience of Peri Peri chips. Then we went to Southbank, where I discovered that Jenny hates bridges and heights and deep water (which is pretty much how to cross Southbank). Then we went back to Melb Central, and met up with Catherine (major yay, DESPITE her WAGGING). After that, we sat in the arcade for a bit, then went to see the movie.

To her credit, Jenny wasn’t as bad as April in Disturbia. April in Disturbia was embarrassing. Jenny managed to not be embarrassing. Then again, to her, most of the movie was her hand covering her eyes.

Daybreakers was pretty interesting. I mean, story wise, it wasn’t anything deep and meaningful, pretty basic stuff. But their spin on vampirism, and how vampires deal to survive, and the brutality of beasts, were very refreshing. Also, there was a lot of gore. The movie relied heavily on loud sounds and sudden moves, as well as a LOT of blood flying everywhere to get the bone chilling factor, but oh well, what else can they do? At least these vampires fucking sizzled and burned in the sun, unlike another unmentionable.

In all, a pretty good day. I got a text when we were at Southbank from Cathy saying that my plane letter made her cry for an hour. Ah win! She made the point that we might see each other more when she comes down to visit than we did in 09. Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone? True.

I miss you, “Bi Bo Boop”.

Alex.