Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Not A Jumper

One of my (entirely reality-based) private clients came in to the office today. Just after sitting down to start our meeting, she had a sudden look of horror, pointed out the window, and said "Oh my GOD! There's a guy on the ledge of that building! I think he's going to jump!"

I leapt out of my chair and over to her side of the room, so I could see where she was pointing, expecting to see a psychiatric emergency in progress. And sure enough, there was a guy in business attire halfway out a fifth-floor window of the brick building across the plaza from mine. He had one leg dangling over the sill, and one arm on the outside of the window.

But, somehow, my first instinctive reaction was to relax and say "That guy is fine." He looked, maybe, a bit too relaxed himself. He looked a bit too interested in something going on across the street, rather than being focused on the ground below, or his internal problems. He didn't seem to be moving or testing whether he could give up the solidity of his perch. I'm only piecing this evidence together after the fact; at the time, all I noted was that he looked okay. Then I remembered that there had been an ambulance out in the street a bit earlier, and a person had been taken out of a restaurant on a stretcher. It became clear that the window guy had just been watching the goings-on with the medical emergency, and maybe getting some fresh air at the same time.

Maybe all those years in shrink school were actually good for something, if I can pick a suicidal person out from a non-suicidal person at 100 yards.


Blogger brushfiremedia said...

I submit that he may not have been suicidal, but sitting with half your body out a fifth-floor window probably qualifies as crazy!

9/30/08, 7:25 PM  
Blogger The MSILF said...

Great story.

10/1/08, 7:38 AM  
Blogger hilllady said...

Have you ever seen the movie The Bridge? It's a documentary in which the filmmakers had cameras on the Golden Gate Bridge 24/7 for something like a year, watching for jumpers. While some people paced and looked visibly distraught before going over, others were just there one second and gone the next. Very disturbing.

10/1/08, 8:53 AM  

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