Dinners, luncheons, operas; all very enjoyable human interest reading and part of the Lounge's great attraction. Not to tread on some great threads going on right now, I thought to sneak in a rather dramatic event that occurred just yesterday...
I live in a highrise condo overlooking the river valley and our downtown core, which is spanned by many bridges. Every morning and evening, during the rush hours, you can see traffic surging one direction, then the other, like arterial blood flowing to and from the heart of the city.
Yesterday morning something didn't seem right. The highest bridge, 50 meters above the water, was eerily still. Suspecting some dolt had wedged a semi-trailer across the entrance, I trained my telescope over and scanned the length of the bridge. Instead, I found myself in the middle of a life-and-death drama!
A youngish-looking male was standing on the outside of the railing, facing the water with arms outstretched like a scene from the Titanic
. Perhaps 5 meters on either side were several police officers, obviously wary to approach too close and force the situation. The man was highly animated (not a good sign) and would alternate between leaning outwards and holding on to the railing. There appeared to be a lead officer who also gestured while the others stood in reserve.
Checking back frequently, I followed developments over the next few hours. At one point a police officer removed his belt, taking care to hide his movements from the jumper. Another officer took the other end and I surmised they may try to surprise the man and snare him with the belt. Apparently they thought better of the plan and nothing developed. Very wise, IMHO, as time is your ally in these situations and there is no need to force the issue.
Next, a lone minivan drove into the scene, obviously not a police vehicle. An officer crept along the off-side as the van stopped in front of the man. This was probably a family member, brought in to restore calm and provide some motivation for the distraught man to continue living. Likely his mother, or brother...someone not intimate with the actual conflict that started this drama.
Staying within the safety of the van, the occupant(s) kept up a dialogue while I noticed the police officers on each side slowly, steadily inching closer until they halved the gap previously maintained. It was remarkable how their body language, even as seen through a telescope, remained calm and non-threatening although their anxiety must have been tremendously high.
After perhaps another hour of cajoling, you could see that both sides were relaxing and something positive had occurred. Soon enough the man climbed back over the railing and into the care of the officers. Within minutes the scene was wiped clean and traffic was flowing as if nothing had happened...just another day in the city.