Friday, May 8, 2009

Jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge: Two views

"Favored by Suicides":

To the Editor:
Alexander Theroux, in his letter (May 26) on Dava Sobel's review of "The Enigma of Suicide" by George Howe Colt, laments that a "sociologically diagnostic" fact about Golden Gate Bridge leapers was not mentioned -- that "virtually every person jumps, not from the bay side, but from the side facing land, and people."

Spare the sociobabble. It is the bay side of the bridge that looks back at San Francisco. The other side faces the Pacific. And it is the bay side that is favored by suicides -- not for a final nose-thumbing or goodbye, but because the pedestrian footpath runs along that side of the span. No one with his heart set seriously on a high dive into the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay would be so foolhardy as to risk a dash across six lanes of high-speed traffic.

June 30, 1991. NY Times.

P.S. I came across this factoid in my "research" on Theroux. I've had a rough day capping over two weeks of such days, so bear with me. No, this is not a "cry for help" to be excavated post-mortem. Just a prolonged sigh, a silent scream, and then a breath taken in to start anew. It is spring, after all. "There is hope," even for those of us not graced with a daily view of bridge and bay and city. Safety nets may not retrieve the six weeks' worth of work that's leaped from the files saved into cyber-oblivion, but cradles remain in place for love, affection, and renewed effort. Once more into the breach instead of on the beach. Not that I'd pick the shore over the shade, except maybe at Golden Gate.

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