Sunday, March 09, 2014

Command Z

A man jumped to his death on Friday from a building two blocks from my office.

I initially dismissed the police cars and fire engines parked on Broadway as just another day in the big city. But when I saw the news trucks pulling up to the scene I knew something was going on.

A cameraman from the Spanish language station told me someone had jumped from the 12th floor and then he trained his lens on the building and began shooting footage.

The body had been removed by this time, but when I walked by the building I saw a pool of blood on the pavement and nearly puked.

If I were still a police reporter I would’ve covered this terrible incident, but I’m a business writer now so I have to find out the story behind the tragedy the way everybody else does.

I checked the news sites throughout the day until I got the story. The victim was a 45-year-old man who recently separated from his wife and had lost both of his parents.

The day wore on, I gradually stopped thinking about the man who had died some close to where I work, and by the time Saturday morning rolled around I was sick as a dog.

Yes, sick again, after giving up three weeks of my life to illness just last month. I thought I had earned some time off from illness, but I was wrong.

I went through the usual raging self-pity that does nothing but harm. I feel like God’s guinea pig, I whined. I’m a human lab rat!

Just this week I met with a nutritionist who came up with a new diet and vitamin routine for me. I thought that this might be a turning point, and it may be yet, since I haven’t actually started the program.

One More Time

But the ugly voices in my head are telling me that it’s a waste of time and money and that nothing is going to change for me.

Over the years I’ve tried vitamins, meditation, qigong, and a veritable chorus line of doctors. I wash my hands constantly, disinfect my phone and keyboard at work with alcohol pads, and nothing helps.

I am sick of soup, sick of tea, sick of resting and missing all the world has to offer. I’m tired of people asking how am I feeling, even though I know they mean well.

And I’m sick of being afraid of getting sick. It seems that I’m either sick, recuperating from being sick, or worrying about my next bout with illness.

My shrink tells me that in times of stress I should detach and observe. Stand outside my thoughts and look at them like a scientist taking notes on an experiment.

That is very difficult to do when you’re in the middle of a temper tantrum, but when I was finally able to detach, I didn’t like what I observed. It was like standing next to a cyclone of toxic waste.

I had signed up for a course in Final Cut Pro at the Downtown Community Television Center on Saturday and I had play tickets for Sunday, which meant rest was out of the question.

So I dragged myself through the class, which was actually pretty good. The teacher was very helpful and while I was having trouble understanding the finer points of the editing software, I did appreciate one important item.

In the event you make a mistake, you can always hit Command Z on your keyboard. That will undo whatever the hell you just did, erase it like it never happened, and give you a chance to try again.

It’s a shame that we don’t have a Command Z for the real world. We could all use another chance to get it right, to change our minds, and avoid a disastrous decision.

I’m feeling a little better today and fortunately I’m taking Monday off. I hope this latest illness is brief so that I can start making some changes in my physical health and my attitude.

However I feel though, at least I will have another day to try again. Which is more that can be said for the man who jumped out of the 12th floor window on Friday morning.


Ron said...

"but when I walked by the building I saw a pool of blood on the pavement and nearly puked."

OMG Rob, the same thing happened about five years ago here in Philly. I didn't ever SEE the pool of blood like you did, but it really affected me when I found out that a young college had jumped from a 14th floor window in an apartment building not far from where I live because she had just broken up with her boyfriend. How sad.

And you're right, it is so hard to detach and observe ourselves, when we're the one who is experiencing it.

I took a peek at the link you left about the film making class. How COOL is that! It sounds like something I would be interested in too.

Glad you're feeling better today. And I'm also glad to hear that you have tomorrow off too. The weather is finally feeling more like Spring, so I know that must make you happy.

Have a SUPER week, buddy!

Bijoux said...

Oh my gosh, Rob, I didn't realize you get sick so often. That is very distressing for the body and the mind. I hope the advice you are getting will be things that build up your immunities.

How dreadful about the jumper.

Rob K said...

Thanks, Bijoux.

I'm searching around for yet another new doctor. But you're right about being distressed.

Take care and stay healthy.

Rob K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob K said...

@Ron--gosh, that's a terrible story about that young woman. People start feeling hopeless and they close themselves off to any kind of help.

The class is really cool and hopefully I'll be feeling more chipper for the next one on Saturday.

And, yes, thank God for the warmer weather!

Take care, buddy!

cestlavie22 said...

That has to be an image that is permanently burned into your mind. I am sorry you were so close to something so tragic. As for your postive attitude trust me when I say I know it is hard. I am going through a tough time as well (financially rather than physically) but the best thing we can do is focus on the blessings in life rather than on the short comings. Eventually everything will come full circle my friend!

Rob K said...

Shae, thank you so much!

I'm feeling better, thank God, and your comment could not have come at a better time!

Take care!