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golden gate bridge

By 8:25 PM

golden gate bridge
Originally uploaded by looseid

Its color is International Orange.

So very windy up there and the traffic noise is deafening.

I've never walked across it in all the years of living here.

It was C's birthday so we decided to make our virgin trek on the Golden Gate Bridge on foot.

It seemed like a pretty casual way to spend an afternoon. I took Bootsie with me.

The view is pretty spectacular, bay side or ocean side.

But the whole time I kept thinking about that film, The Bridge, which chronicles the many suicides that take place each year, both successful and unsuccessful.

My first year in San Francisco, I worked with a woman who jumped off the bridge on New Year's Day. After the Holiday break, she didn't show up for duty. I had no idea she was anywhere near a point of no return. She was young, attractive and popular. Her public persona was social and affable. And she was gone forever. It's so cliche, but you never really know.

You're so high up. My knees got shaky looking down at the water. There's the suicide barrier the first few yards or so, but then there's really nothing standing between you and the water the remainder of the way. Oh, and then there are suicide hotline setups and warnings at regular intervals across the bridge. It's hard to escape the grim side of this beautiful and hopeful monument.

It took us a lot longer than we expected. It takes roughly 45 seconds to drive across it one way. It took us 50 minutes to walk it at a leisurely pace, behind strollers, grandparents and tourists alike. I suggested that we start charging everybody that asked us to take their picture. If we charged a quarter a piece, we probably could have bought ourselves a drink or two. 100 minutes round trip. It's a major commitment. Once you've crossed one leg of the bridge, it's not easy hailing a cab or taking shelter. I was windblown, sunburned and coated from head to toe with a film of traffic grime.

Even Bootsie seemed to tread very lightly and cautiously the whole length of the walk. We both noticed how she was walking low to the ground like a panther stalking prey. Maybe she had some awareness of the great distance down below. She definitely didn't display her regular jaunty gait. She, too, was beat and dead to the world when we got home.

Tongue out and all.

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  1. Good for you and Bootsie. I'm glad neither of you had jumped.

  2. That's a ridiculous thought. I would never jump.