Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Interesting Morning

I had an interesting morning today. I was running a few errands before taking my son to school. We had just finished up at the post office. I pulled out of my parking space and got onto the street. I stopped at an intersection, and was waiting for a pedestrian to finish crossing the street I wanted to turn onto. The man had started crossing the intersection, stopped, and returned to the curb a few times. It was odd, and I guessed he was either drunk or had some kind of mental illness.

So, I waited until he had completely crossed the street to turn. When he saw me turning, he ran back into the road, and blocked my car from passing through the intersection. He started waving his hands and yelling that I almost hit him. Really angry yelling. Neck veins and eyes bulging.

This was kinda scary. Not to mention that I had my preschool-aged child in the car, and now, my car was in the middle of the intersection. Cars were waiting to pass, and the man was still screaming and blocking my path.

What to do?

Honk? That may make the situation worse. Inch forward until he moves? Again, that would probably make the situation worse. Dial 9-1-1? Another minute and I would have.

Honestly, I was very surprised that there weren't any police officers around. We were right across from the police department. When I run errands downtown in the morning, I usually see several patrol vehicles. Not today, and not at that moment. Fortunately, simply ignoring the man seemed to work. It was like a switch flipped. He stopped yelling, did his curb-street-curb-thing, crossed the street and walked away.

I slowly drove away. I admit, I did look for police officers on the side streets. A person like that is clearly a danger to himself and others, and should not be on the streets. I considered stopping at the police station to report it. But, with my son in the car, I thought that would be a little much to explain. Plus, we would have been late to school.

What would you have done?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

WalkOut of the Darkness

Dear Friends,

As many of you already know, suicide prevention is a cause near and dear to my heart. Last year, I raised money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention through The Overnight Walk. This year, I will be walking in AFSP's Chicago WalkOut of the Darkness Community Walk at the Chicago Botanic Gardens on September 25th, 2010.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is at the forefront of research, education and prevention initiatives designed to reduce loss of life from suicide. With more than 33,000 lives lost each year in the U.S. and over one million worldwide, the importance of AFSP's mission has never been greater, nor our work more urgent.

• For every $50 raised, AFSP can provide educational materials to 25 people, emphasizing the importance of early identification and treatment for those suffering from depression and other disorders that put them at risk. If just one person seeks help for depression, a life could be saved for less than the cost of dinner and a movie.
• For every $100 raised, AFSP can educate a mental health professional or primary care physician about the warning signs of suicide; they, in turn, will reach hundreds - maybe thousands – of people.
• For every $500 raised, a new Survivor of Suicide support group facilitator can be trained, and the members of the group will be given a chance to be with other survivors who understand, and will know that they are not alone.
• For every $1,000 raised, together with 20 additional walkers, we can fund a year of research into the genetic, biological or behavioral factors that contribute to suicide. The number of lives potentially saved by this research is incalculable.

Please consider supporting my participation in this event, or joining me in the walk. Any contribution will help the work of AFSP, and all donations are 100% tax deductible.