Here, can you hold my brain until I get back?
Because I’m going to do something really, really stupid.
Of course, that brain might end up splattered all over the pavement, with crushed bones and torn flesh and an explosion of blood.
So, a low-functioning brain, seems clear to me.
What’s not at all clear is why Crane Girl — 23-year-old Marisa Lazo — went up the construction derrick in the middle of the night (need I really insert the word “allegedly” when her exploits were watched on social media around the world?) and then presumably shimmied down the cable, where she sat patiently on the hook device awaiting rappelling rescue by a Toronto firefighter.
When Lazo appeared before a judge on Thursday — ultimately released on a piddly $500 surety, humping half a dozen mischief charges and bail conditions that forbid her from “attending construction sites and rooftops” — the procedure unfolded in a courtroom reserved for people with mental health issues. There were, however, no mental health review orders attached to her release and friends have come forward to assure that the young woman doesn’t have any screws loose.
No, she’s maybe just an adventuress.
Hey, I generally admire the gutsiness of adventurers even though we often end up peeling them off mountain sides or risking the lives of soldiers to retrieve idiots from combat zones where they’ve inexplicably gone tourist walkabout and got themselves abducted for ransom.
Frenchman Philippe Petit gained international fame and cultural iconography when, in August 1974, he rigged a cable across New York’s Twin Towers at the World Trade Center — at that time the tallest buildings on the planet — and executed his jaw-dropping, illicit performance, making eight passes across the wire. Petit, a high wire performance artist, had spent six years planning the stunt, which spawned books and movies.
A sophisticated world no longer oohs and aahs at roustabout circus entertainment. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey are closing up their big tent in May, after completing their remaining bookings. More than a century in the business and nobody is captivated anymore by aerialists and trained animals, albeit Cirque du Soleil has reinvented the genre in terms of diverting human kinetics.
On social media, though, we can’t tear our eyes away from heart-pounding human melodrama, especially when it includes the prospect of disaster unfolding. Some seek an audience for suicide, even homicide, such as the Facebook-posted murder of an innocent, elderly man in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago.
We have become voyeurism addicted.
Where thrill-seeking intersects with social media, enter the extreme selfie subculture.
Roofers and urban climbers, they’re called, a fringe fad, 2.0 version of train-surfing — riding atop fast moving railway cars as a lark.
I’ve spent the day watching daredevil freaks on YouTube — often teenagers or people in their 20s, male and female — doing stupid stuff as they scrabble up cranes, clamber unharnessed across high buildings from Moscow to Dubai to Shanghai, ride bicycles across narrow struts, hang one-handed from the edge of skyscrapers. One couple taking turns dangling stop to kiss from their construction perch before descending. Bet they had hot sex afterwards.
A 25-year-old from Southampton who travels the globe performing such stunts — climbing the Eiffel Tower and Moscow Bridge, often on behalf off high-profile corporate clients who pay for the vicarious thrill — describes his performance as an “art form.”
A group of Moscow teens who became Internet sensations, garnering multiple millions of viewings on YouTube and Instagram — and a Rolling Stone Magazine feature for their death-defying clandestine gambles.
A killer pursuit for too many who plunge to their death. I wonder, as they rush to meet the ground, if they have time to think: boy, that was dumb.
There’s no evidence that Lazo — who didn’t speak to reporters as she skedaddled away from the Old City Hall courthouse — documented her vertical escapade on smartphone video. There was no audience when she went up, except for the monitoring security cameras which captured her approach and ascent-start, its images flagged about 4 a.m. to Scott McLellan, senior vice-president of Plaza Corp., developer of the downtown Wellesley St. condo project that apparently lured Lazo’s adrenalin-pumping interest. (Social media photos of Lazo smiling from a high ledge in a previous, undated, antic frolic indicate this wasn’t her first vertiginous rodeo.)
“The first thing we thought, of course, was please get her down safely,” McLellan told the Star on Friday. “The second thought was, how did she get up there? How did she even get on the site?”
Security video answered that part, McLellan said. “You can see her walking up to the construction fence, looking around for a way to get in.” That fence varies from six to eight feet high. Which would be no obstacle to an urban climber. Also, lying on railway tracks.
“She jumps over the fence, disappears for a while behind an area where the cameras can’t see, maybe scoping it out, comes back into view walking to the crane and starts climbing. We can only see the bottom part of the climb, maybe three metres, because our cameras are not pointing up at the sky.”
The equivalent of 12 to 15 stories she allegedly ascended before sliding down a cable made from steel fibre. “I don’t understand how she wouldn’t have cut her hands or damaged her skin, unless she was wearing gloves,” said McLellan.
Plaza Corp., has put up some 10,000 condo units around Toronto since the early ’80s. They have nine properties under various stages of development at the moment. This was their first urban climbing assault.
“We’re just gratified she wasn’t injured and neither was anybody else.”
Terminal velocity plus impact on a hard surface equals disintegration, bones crushed and protruding through skin casing, blood and body fluids spewing.
What a rush, huh?
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.