Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mercury in retrograde much?

OK, I admit it: I don't really, really know what mercury being in retrograde means, as much as it's the rationale used a few times a year to explain those periods during which everything seems to fall apart a bit.  I cheated and Googled it yesterday when I had the chance, so now I know (and you do, too, in case you, like me, were ignorant in the ways of the planet) that poor Mercury slows down 3-4 times per year, appearing to move backward (hence, "retrograde").  Since Mercury "rules" communication, these retrograde periods are the apparent reason for our inability to understand or be understood by others, a time during which people just don't get us.

I was thinking about this retrograde Mercury business mostly because it's been utterly insane since Monday afternoon getting to and from work.  Now that may on the surface of things appear to have nothing whatever to do with communication, but read on.
A distraught man scaled the main cable on the Golden Gate Bridge Tuesday morning, making his way to the top of the south tower before he was convinced by bridge workers to go with them to safety.

The unidentified man began his trek up the main cable on the east side of the span at 11:15 a.m., bridge officials said. Authorities monitored his progress and called the California Highway Patrol, which considered closing lanes below.

When the man reached the top of the tower 20 minutes later, he was met by employees who had taken an elevator. They convinced the man to come with them, bridge officials said.

The incident followed a standoff Monday afternoon at the bridge, when a suicidal man was spotted outside the railing at 4 p.m. After authorities spoke with the man for four hours, he jumped from the bridge to his death.
After they re-opened the Bridge Monday night, midway through the stand-off with Suicide #1, there was a three-car accident in the Waldo Tunnel almost right in front of my nose.  Right before Suicide #2 on Tuesday morning, there was a head-on crash that closed most lanes, forcing a colleague out of traffic and into a cafe to wait it out.

And this right after I observed to someone Monday morning that after 4 years of daily commuting across that span, I was amazed at how few accidents and problems there have been.

But something appears to be up this week.

Technically, it can't be Mercury, since that baby doesn't head into retrograde until August 20th.  But maybe it's pre-retrograde syndrome.

Or maybe I've just been lucky, blissfully unaware of reality as I breeze across the Bridge every day, lucky to miss the accidents, to not see sign of the two dozen people who jump off every year.  One roughly every two weeks.

And though I was really sad and frustrated on Monday as I sat in traffic, late for the first night of school because of the Suicide #1 stand-off, grumpily thinking Why during rush hour, Why not in your bathroom, Why in a way that inconveniences me, innocent bystander of your misery, I am grateful for the reminder that just across the border of my happy little life, there is suffering, people so ill that they'll off themselves, planets moving backward.  Grateful and jolted out of complacency, senses a bit sharper, feeling each moment and each connection to strangers and far-off planets more keenly.

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