A few weeks ago, I decided once again that I'd had enough and started looking around for a relatively simple, painless, not very messy way to do it. (If you are wondering how things got to this point, it is a long story. If you know me well, you know the story and don't need to read it here. If you don't know me well, suffice to say, sometimes people fuck their lives up so bad that they lose everything of value to them and the only thing they see is the peace that death will bring.) I watch a lot of anime and as luck would have it, I'd recently seen two separate anime series in which suicide clubs were featured. Japan has a culture of honorable suicide going back a thousand years; in that country taking your own life is not only seen by many as a right, in some cases it is also a duty. Which is neither here nor there, really. In both of these stories, one method of suicide considered was "death by hibachi." Most young Japanese people live in small apartments (big enough for a bed and a desk and not much else) but they always have a balcony, and thus a hibachi for cooking outside. So, they have a small easily taped-up space and a readily available grill. This method of suicide is increasingly popular in most Asian countries due to the availability and inexpense of materials. It is also becoming more common in the West.
So I looked into this on the internet (blessing and curse that it is). Quite a few places have pretty detailed instructions on how to do it and how it works. The how to do it is easy. Get a grill, some charcoal, a small room that you can tape up, something to help you sleep, and a free day that you can be reasonably sure no one will come looking for you. How it works is also fairly easy. Incomplete combustion of the charcoal produces carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless, and very deadly gas. The hemoglobin in your blood actually prefers the carbon monoxide molecules to oxygen and when CO is present in the air and you breathe it in, it kicks the oxygen away and binds to the hemoglobin. Since the hemoglobin is bound your body thinks it is breathing (thus no choking or feeling like you are being asphyxiated) but no oxygen is getting to your tissues. Depending on the concentration of CO, death can occur fairly rapidly or over hours of exposure. Burning charcoal in a closed room produces a fairly high concentration but still requires exposures of hours to be sure. Thus the sleeping aid. The idea is that you light your grill, take a sleeping pill or two, and lay down and go to sleep. And that's it. By the time anyone finds you, it will be over.
So...yeah, this seemed like a good idea to me. First thing I needed was a hibachi. Of course, I could have gone down to the local Home Depot and just bought a little Weber table top grill for $29.95 but I'm classier than that. So I hunted around a bit and finally found my choice of death hibachi. I'm not going to mention the brand name here because I'm sure they don't want their fine product associated with this sort of thing, but take my word for it, this is one damn nice hibachi. I may actually cook on it someday. I couldn't find anyone that sold it locally so I ordered in online (Yay Amazon!), using Free Super Saving Shipping of course, and waited for it to arrive. When it came I waited. Although my baseline feeling crappy level is pretty high, I've found that a precipitating event makes this sort of thing easier...it provides motivation, so to speak.
I didn't have to wait long for the precipitating event to occur (I won't say it what it was, but it was devastating and left me feeling utterly abandoned). So I set my day (Sunday) and went shopping. I needed plastic and tape to seal up the bathroom and charcoal for the grill. I also needed to stock up on pet food so that whoever took care of them after I was gone wouldn't have to worry about that. Once I had my supplies I measured the door, window, and vents in the bathroom, cut the plastic, and taped up everything but the door. I laid rugs and towels in the bathtub and soaked them with water to prevent any spark damage to the tub. I took everything else out of the bathroom, including pictures from the walls and the shower curtains. I brought in bricks to set the hibachi on. I carried the dogs' beds and crate out into the living room, fed them an extra meal, and filled up three big bowls of water for them. I also left the cat three bowls of food and some extra water and cleaned out her box. I put up signs on all the doors warning of CO (it often poisons or even kills rescuers so I wanted people to know it was present) and set towels under the bedroom door so that the gas would not seep out into the living room. I also opened the windows in the bedroom so that any gas that escaped the bathroom would go out the windows. I laid out my will, an advance directive, and some phone numbers to call when I was found. I mailed a letter. Since this was a Sunday, I was pretty sure someone would come looking for me the next day and the letter would ensure that someone would come looking by Tuesday at the latest. So the animals should not have been alone for very long. They were my only real worry.
After that I was set. I went out to light the grill and...didn't have any charcoal. I forgot the damn charcoal. So, off I went to the Safeway to buy some charcoal. Once I had that in hand, I set up the grill, lit it, took my sleeping pills, and sipped a beer while I waited for the flames to die down. Once they had, I carried the hibachi into the bathroom and set it on the bricks in the tub. Then I put the dogs and cats in the living room, said goodbye to them, reset the towels under the door, and went into the bathroom. I taped up the door and sat on the toilet to wait. I brought a journal in to write and I wrote until my eyes were watering too much to see clearly, and then I laid my head down on a pillow and closed my eyes.
It wasn't too terribly uncomfortable in there, not as bad as I thought it would be. It was like a slightly smoky sauna. The worse thing was the smell of the lighter fluid in the charcoal (it lingers in my bathroom to this day). The heat was not too bad and neither was the smoke, I had some water and the rest of my beer and some wet cloths to put over my face to cool me. I sat there for a long time breathing as deeply as I could. Finally I started to get drowsy and I began to worry about passing out and falling into the hot grill, so I took my pillow and my cold cloths and laid down on the floor. The air was cooler there, although CO concentrations were probably higher (CO is heavier than oxygen) and I laid my cheek on the cool tiles. And that is the last thing I remember, feeling absolutely wonderful, happy, and at peace, laying on the floor of my smoky bathroom with my cheek against cool tiles, falling forever asleep.
I need a break. I will continue this in a bit.