Sunday, December 14, 2008

Where We Used To Stand

Two years ago at Christmastime I was unemployed and living with a different roommate--one who was, to say the least, hellish. The weather was dry and warm, and I thought it to be remarkable that there was one very important thing that I could do here that I couldn't do back in the States, which was to walk a bridge in December without slipping and falling on ice.

The bridge, in this case, was my Lady by the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge. She pokes her crown up over the trees of the Park from my view on the hill here, and she was a key motivator for love at my first Christmas in California. My boss had let me out early the Friday before Christmas in 2004 (my boss at that time being Gary), and I took mass transit to Fisherman's Wharf and just gazed at the great Bridge. I had a crush on it since I saw the movie "Mother" back in Missouri--I had gasped at the great sweeping shot of filming the Bridge at sunset.

Keep in mind that I grew up about 10 hours from a bridge in Michigan that looked about like the GG only not red and FIVE MILES LONG, and yet, the Golden Gate still has my heart. With a horrid roommate, no job, an absent lover, and a long-lost brother two years ago it took on other connotations as well--the other thing that the Golden Gate Bridge is known for--as the number one destination in the world for those who want to end their own life. I didn't necessarily want to end my life at that time, but I did have a plan for getting a book done that seemed to touch on that as a wrap-up.

I'm not in that place now, but a couple of weeks back on a podcast I heard the director of the documentary "The Bridge" talk about his film, and I found myself wanting to see it. I watched this morning--not in fascination, not in horror, but I found in myself an understanding and empathy toward the people who did take that road. If the purpose of art IS to understand, this film worked. I heard the word "disillusioned" a lot. I could relate.

Just a quick head's up--you have be pretty strong to watch this film and not get sick to your stomach...I had to cleanse it out of my system with a meaningless romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock afterward.

Where I used to stand, until I walked away.

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