Big Fat Queer

October 2, 2010

Terror on the GWB



George Washington Bridge, originally uploaded by FantasticBabblings.

Today I went to the George Washington Bridge to shoot some footage for my river project. I had planned this for a couple of weeks and the weather was perfect, as you can see in this picture I took today.

I have a mild fear of heights. I can be high up, but I just can’t look straight down a sheer drop off without some vertigo and uneasiness. But it usually isn’t too bad. I did okay as long as I stayed on the side of the walkway that was not nearest the edge. Fortunately that is the side pedestrians are supposed to be on, bicycles on the other.

I had only planned to walk half way. It’s a long way across. At over 600 feet high, the GWB is much higher than the Brooklyn Bridge, which is only 135 feet at the highest point. It is lower than the Golden Gate, which is 746 feet, and I have walked across it as well. About a third of the way out, past the tower on the Manhattan side, there was a recess off the bike path closer to the edge of the bridge. There was a cluster of support poles I could lean against to steady the camera and so I would feel a bit more secure. But I didn’t. Being near the edge at that height with the water below me, I had a moment of panic and felt paralyzed and dizzy. I was able to pull it together and grope my way around to the other side and start walking back. I have never had such a severe response. My phobias are usually quite mild.

The whole time I had been thinking about Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who jumped off the bridge last week. If you aren’t familiar with the name, Tyler was a student at Rutgers who was videotaped by his roommate in a sexual encounter with another man. I don’t know what other issues he was dealing with, but being near where he jumped (I don’t know exactly which part of the bridge; I suspect nobody does) I could not imagine what depths of despair he must have been in to cross that emotional threshold. The thought of jumping still makes me shiver. We all need to be kinder to each other.

Sorry to get so down, but that is what has been on my mind since this afternoon. I haven’t blogged for over a week. I had a very busy week at work and I also didn’t eat particularly well. No pig-out, but mostly take-out food and not enough fruits and vegetables.

This morning I had two poached eggs on rye toast. Tonight I am having Buffalo wings and a salad. I walked two and a half miles today. I will try to focus on doing better this week. I actually like healthy food more than unhealthy, but as I’ve said here before, it takes effort. When you’re busy and don’t have much extra time or energy, it is so easy to get some crap delivered.

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