Someone didn’t Mind the Gap…

16 Apr

Every Monday morning my old lady trolley cart and I make the trek to Sainsbury’s supermarket. The trip has become so ritual and uneventful that when something mildly interesting happens, it deserves a blog post.

I was walking past Waitrose supermarket, as I do every week, wondering why anybody would shop at this overpriced, loyalty card-less store when there’s a Sainbury’s just up the street, when I saw a crowd of people standing outside the Finchley Road tube station. Surely they weren’t all buying fruit from the stand in front of the station, manned by the lady who smokes right over the cherries. As I got closer I noticed the line of yellow police cars and ambulances and the tape blocking the entrance to the station as well as the sidewalk in front. I stood in the crowd for a minute, hoping to overhear a bit of what was going on, but no one was talking — they all just stood there with the same “What is going on?” puzzled look. Every once in a while someone would try to walk into the street and back onto the sidewalk and a police officer or the chain-smoking fruit lady would stop him. I’m glad I didn’t attempt it. Since I was just trying to get to the store up the street and not onto the Tube, I crossed to the other side of the road and took the pedestrian subway back across. A good portion of the street was blocked off and there were several police cars and an ambulance, but nobody seemed to be doing anything. I made a mental note to Google the situation when I got home.

Turns out a lady “fell in front of a train” at the station and died. It happened over an hour before I got there, which is why things seemed to be calmed down. People “falling in front of trains” was something that seemed to happen almost every week in Chicago. If you were late to work all you had to say was “somebody jumped in front of the train again” and your employer would totally understand — or, more likely — be late as well.

Which brings me to a little discussion about suicide. Of all the potential ways to take your own life, why would you choose jumping in front of a train? Suicide in itself is extraordinarily selfish — a “permanent solution to a temporary problem” — but in most cases it just affects the person’s immediate friends and family. However, when you decide to jump in front of a train, you mess up a lot of people’s lives (literally… I don’t want to even imagine the “mess” authorities have to clean up before the train can be up and running again — and the poor people who have to witness it! The driver (conductor?) will probably be scarred for life.) Is the person so angry at the world that she wants to put a wrench in everyone’s plans? Make the local news? Not many suicides do, perhaps she wanted to go out with a bang (or whatever noise flesh hitting a speeding train makes… I know, I’m sorry, sickkkk.) Shall we blame Tolstoy? (Read “Anna Karenina!”) Obviously I’ve never been suicidal so I’ve never thought in depth about “which way to go,” but I can’t imagine why speeding train would beat out pills or a bullet. Maybe because it’s instant? Is it? According to the Camden New Journal, “Paramedics, the Fire Brigade and the London air ambulance were sent to the station, but the woman died at the scene.” …I’m probably putting too much thought into this, as most suicidal individuals are not thinking rationally.

In short, suicide is not the answer, kids… especially Tube suicide.

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