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Two stories about heart-stopping falls:

1. Falling Time: David Eagleman gets to the bottom of what goes on in our brains during those life or death moments when time seems to slow way down.

2. Falling in Love: Lulu Miller brings us the story of Sarita and Simon, who fell in...and then out...of love.


David Eagleman


Lulu Miller

Comments [48]

Erica from USA

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Oct. 30 2017 03:12 PM
thatgirl from new york

Lawd, I'm still upset by Sarita and Simon's story. I really wanted to hear they figured out a way to make it work. Kirk from Tampa made a good point when applying the Buddhist theory to Simon's lack of facial memory, saw him unable to maintain a sense of Sarita's identity. I should do more research on the condition, but I had to wonder: where facial memory failed, wouldn't a memory of her voice or other gestures sustain him?

Regardless, most excellent, heartbreaking segment, Lulu!

I was riding my bicycle on the shoulder of a two-lane, suburban road when I was in my teens. It was summer, and a couple of guys in a convertible going in the other direction called out and waved at me as I was slowing down to make a left turn across the lanes. Just as I turned to look at the traffic behind me, I was struck by a car.

As I flew through the air toward the oncoming lane, I had time to wonder whether I would be, somehow, separated from my bike, which was actually my brother's, due to mine having a flat. I had time to think about how mad he would be at me for getting his bike mangled. I also had time to think about my mother, and how he'd react to my injuries when I met her in Miami, where she was on a business trip at the time. She always hated me taking that busy road. And I had time to think about whether I'd hold my arms out to stop my fall--and how I might embed gravel and glass in my hands, which would prove impossible to remove.

I thought of all that as an oncoming car clipped me as I landed, still attached to the bike. on my left side. The guys in the convertible must have seen it happen, because they turned around and came back to the scene. The guy about my age who hit me with the Buick LeSabre, the two guys from the convertible and the man in the van who clipped me in the oncoming lane all stood around, asking if I was all right, pulling me off the bike. As I looked at the skin scraped away from my left shoulder and hip and found that I could walk, the LeSabre guy asked me where he could take me and my bike. I didn't think of the emergency room--I just wanted to get away from him and get to my friend's house, where they would sort me out. This was before we had cell phones to help define our next move.

I let the LeSabre guy take me and the bike to my friend's house, blocks away, and never asked his name or other information. I just took my bike out of his trunk, threw it over my good shoulder, and walked to the back yard, still rather stunned.

That flight through the air seemed like an eternity, and it's funny--and lucky--I can recall all the things that went through my head. I do know that if that happened today on that same road, I'd probably have left the scene in an ambulance. Not only do we act more with "an abundance of caution" these days, but even with no change in the speed limit, people easily traverse that road a good 15 to 20 mph faster now.

Thank jah for timing.

Oct. 14 2017 01:30 PM
Audrey from Los Angeles, CA

I find that this is connected to my experience with dissociation episodes. They seem to last a lifetime, but when witnessed, I've been told that they only last a few moments. Have you looked into the psychology/biology of dissociation? I would love to learn more.

Apr. 28 2016 01:17 PM
Spence from New York, NY

My wife passes out from the site of blood. A decade ago I cut the tip of my finger off and stupidly showed her. She passed out for about 2-3 seconds. Later that day she told me the dream she had while passed out. It took almost 20 minutes.

Apr. 28 2016 09:27 AM
Gary from Hurricane WV

Falling Time - I just listened to this podcast last weekend as I was driving home. It is not only fear that causes time to slow. I have been running for over 40 years and 4 or 5 times when I have been running near my peak, relatively fast but effortlessly I have felt time stand almost still. While running in the woods along single-track trails I would jump water holes, glide over fallen logs or leap down from small boulders. When I am in the time freeze zone I can while in mid-air see all my possible landing spots and even change direction or length of my jump. I leave my feet for a second or two but it feels like six or seven. I assumed this was an internal feeling, something only I was experiencing but on one occasion one of my running partners commented "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" He saw what I felt, my time defying motion.
I remember once, while playing basketball (I enjoyed playing but was never particularly good) having leapt off my feet to get above a defender and shoot. It felt as if I had all the time in the world to take that shot, as if I could hang in the air concentrate on where I wanted the ball to go and shoot. I shot and then time resumed it's normal speed and I never got to that 'zone' again. I suspect if you interviewed great athletes in any sport they all regularly enter a time suspending zone. The common thread may be adrenaline, not fear.

Feb. 14 2015 07:19 PM
Arlene from San Diego

I heard Sarita's & Simon's segment while driving on a Saturday. Could not stop thinking about it. Listened to it again on & I'm still crying!

Feb. 09 2015 10:01 PM
Wayne Thompson from earth

Dear Radiolab folks:

Your episode on falling in love was compromised by the fact that the guy had a problem with his brain which prevented him from reciprocating the woman's "falling in love". What you needed were two normal people
to see what is going on when this happens--do they fall into each other, by each other or what? Do they both feel the same or are they a little different in some way, some way that isn't dictated by physical problems of a brain.

Feb. 09 2015 04:21 PM
Cleopatra from Heaven, Georgia

Sad people do have a right to change there mind, however we must learn to deal with rejection

Feb. 09 2015 04:36 AM
Deb - PA from United States

I had 2 frightful experience where time slowed and thoughts were amplified. I had a situation where I had no choice but to jump off of a wildly galloping horse that was headed for the edge of a small cliff. I knew the edge was coming but could not be sure if he did and he was at a full out gallop (approx.25-25mph) No choice but to jump and figure it out fast. Funny how complex my thoughts were in this 3-5 second time-span (it felt like 2mins) I settled on how I needed to dismount, the position I needed to land in, when to jump to avoid rocks, trees and death, and through it all, there was a point in time when I noticed the leather "outback" hat I was wearing was still on my head, it has not flown off. I remember saying to myself, this is an awesome hat, I cant believe it has stayed on, I really like this hat, it was worth the $60.00 I paid for it. Then I jumped.

Feb. 08 2015 01:25 PM
Therese from Hudson, New York

Tobias Wolff's classic short story "Bullet in the Brain" imagines the passage of a bullet as it traverses the brain of Anders, a character shot in a bank robbery. "After striking the cranium, the bullet was moving at 900 feet per second, a pathetically sluggish, glacial pace compared to the synaptic lighting that flashes around it." It's a tour de force short story that may be of interest to RadioLab listeners.

Feb. 07 2015 12:39 PM
Chris from Athens, GA

I just want to thank all of the contributors for the Falling In Love Segment. It is easily one of the most dense, beautiful, sad and poetic love stories that I've ever heard...perfection. Thank you.

Feb. 04 2015 02:58 PM
Mia Belanger from oviedo, FL

I wish the two would have ended up togther. This was a sad story. When Sarita said falling in love was like falling off a rooftop, I thought that doesn't make sense because one is emotional and the other is physical. Then she says you don't know what is going to happen and what is going on around you. Which is so true! I have not been in love yet, but when I do I want one that swirls you around and pulls you down, in a good way. A love that consumes you.

Jan. 27 2015 04:52 PM
Kevin Dyer from Houston

I had a similar experience to the falling-off-a-roof guy when I was very little, as well. I was pushed off a slide, and the fall seemed to last a very long time.

Sep. 19 2014 01:47 PM
Maggie from Miami Fl

First time listener, first time posting. Lulu's piece was amazing. What a great Story.

Aug. 28 2013 12:06 PM
Simon from Oslo

That's a pretty horrible thing to say to your girlfriend that she's lacking a "core", faceblindness or not.

Jul. 28 2013 10:09 AM
BRIAN CAINE from fresno,ca

Can i stop crying already...amazing story!

Sep. 22 2012 03:43 PM
Carl-Andre from Fort Lauderdale, FL

I was in the middle of washing the dishing when that piece came on. I literally had to sit down to listen in. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL STORY! The pain in the voice of Sarita and Simon is so tangible and raw.

"Spudnuts from DC" said it best: "a rare combination of intellect, grace and humanity. thanks for all the gifts you give us."

For further info on Simon's condition, check out:

Sep. 22 2012 12:31 PM
Robert from Everett, WA

While skydiving I once messed up just as pulled my rip-cord. Instead of the pilot chute coming off my back because I was face to earth, I was somewhat face to sky and the pilot chute was trying to get around my body. I was completly terrified I was about to die due to my mistake. Time totally slowed way down as I watched the pilot chute slowly bounce down my leg toward my foot - I pulled my foot out of the way and watched as the container slowly followed the pilot cute and up ito the sky above me and openned. It seemed to take a mintue or so, when actually to took less than 2 -3 seconds...........?

Sep. 21 2012 10:22 PM

Just heard this one on WDET on my lunch break. The story of Simon and Sarita was perfectly heartbreaking. I cried. And throwing some Jonsi & Alex in there was a great choice. Good work guys!

Sep. 21 2012 02:33 PM
migemet from Somerville, MA

Ditto @Danny Kim (from 2010). I have to know what songs go into the collage right after the piece (a la Joni Mitchell) Especially, the background song "falling... falling... " That's haunting, and yet... I know it and can't place it. Great job!

Jul. 28 2012 04:08 AM
Banner Gwin

Does anyone know what piano piece was used to close out the "Simon & Sarita" piece? PLease!!!!

Jul. 10 2012 07:50 PM
Vince from Long Beach, CA

I cried in my car. It was so touching and moving. Thank you for my humanity...

Mar. 24 2012 09:48 PM
Jon from Tokyo

What was the park where they did the SCAD diving? I really want to try. I hope there's something in asia.

Aug. 16 2011 12:05 PM
Sophia from Chugiak, Alaska

Simon &, i cam on here to here it again. Did they end up together at all? Lulu, the piece was painfully beautiful. I felt for Sarita, especially the bit at the end, when Simon realizes she still kept an eye on him..I was in tears...again.

Jul. 06 2011 12:01 AM
Kirk from Tampa

In Buddhism, one of the key concepts is that the self is illusory. And the physical form is one of the primary sustainers of that illusion. It may be that, without Sarita's face to anchor him, Simon was unable to maintain a persistent sense of Sarita's identity. I wonder how common this would be if none of us could remember faces...

Feb. 28 2011 07:47 AM
Jennifer from Toronto

Wow !
first time listening to your show, and i have to say it was magnificent. From the sound effects to the actual content, there was never a dull moment.
Well done!

Jan. 22 2011 08:59 PM
Meredith from Washington, DC

Wow, this story really made me cry. I often seem to wind up crying listening to Radiolab; fortunately, this is usually a positive thing, because it's moving stuff.

Nov. 22 2010 01:09 PM

oh, they didn't get back together...?

amazing piece.

Nov. 11 2010 12:46 PM
Jessica from Houston, TX

Long time listener, first time posting. Lulu's piece was amazing. It's been two days since I heard the podcast and I'm still emotionally attached to it. It was done so well and I appreciate that you didn't make me hate him. I'd love to see it expanded into a novel or a brilliant movie. What a brilliantly sad love story.

Nov. 11 2010 01:41 AM
Phil from L.A., CA

Hi Lulu Miller. It's great to hear your voice again! I thought you left to pursue something else. Are you going to be a regular at Radiolab again? I love everyone's contribution there but especially your's. I love your voice, writing, narration, and interviewing style. Hope to hear more segments from you.

Oct. 28 2010 07:16 PM
LMGM from Chicago, IL

Holy crap, that was overwhelmingly intense. You did a wonderful job of recording the pauses and breaths and little non-verbal cues as well. Almost unbearable.

Oct. 22 2010 04:30 PM
Morgan White from Toronto

In case anyone is wondering what the music is that's playing during Simon and Sarita's story, it's Stokkseyri by Jonsi and Alex. Really beautiful.

Oct. 20 2010 07:04 PM
Christina from Fremont California

I love listening to the podcast, and I just heard the story of Simon and Sarita, it was so sad. I wanted this story to have a happy ending. Please tell them to get back together, hahah. Thanks for the great stories, if you guys had been my science teachers I probably would have paid attention when I was in class.


Oct. 14 2010 04:07 PM
boosie from 11211

I have a question about this. If the theory of special relativity is appropriate here, should not the faller be asked to look at a perceptual chronometer that is not fixed to her person? That is, if we are trying to see if time slows down from the perspective of the faller, should there not be a reference point that does not fall with her? I doubt that time really does slow down but I'm trying to understand how special relativity works.

Oct. 13 2010 11:02 PM
Spudnuts from DC

Lulu Miller is a genius with a giant heart...a rare combination of intellect, grace and humanity. thanks for all the gifts you give us.

Oct. 12 2010 07:32 PM
Greg Miller

At 19:40 I started to crack up. At 20:18 I lost it. Thank you Radiolab, for making a haunting, haunting podcast...

Oct. 08 2010 10:51 PM


I had a very similar experience, and it was excruciating. This helped me understand things better:

Oct. 06 2010 02:36 PM
Chris from Los Angeles

The song from sarita and simon is stokkseyri by jonsi & alex

Oct. 05 2010 02:19 PM
Mike from Long Island

This reminds me of an aspect of einstein’s relativity. If time is relative, than if more signals are going through our brain in a given time, then within our brain it will feel relatively longer. The way einstien explained it is as follows: “Sit next to a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. Sit on a red-hot stove for a minute, it seems like an hour. That's relativity.” Who is to say which is the right time. . .

Oct. 01 2010 03:13 PM
Eric Johnson from Duluth, MN

Sarita and Simon... heartbreaking.

Oct. 01 2010 01:10 PM
Jeremy Went from New York

The bit about emotional transition in skydiving is spot on. I have 400 jumps and letting go is what you want.

Oct. 01 2010 11:30 AM
Jonathan Straw

The bit about the motorcycle rider who composed music to the rhythm of his bouncing head during an accident struck a chord with me.

Something similar happened to me when I had my major accident, only, as I rolled, I remember vividly that I had enough pause to analyze and notice each new batch of scratches on my visor applied by the gravel with each revolution.

Sep. 27 2010 02:15 PM
Bryan from Provo, UT

It has been almost a week since I first listened to this episode, and I keep thinking about Sarita and Simon's story. I can't get it out of my head. I wish I knew someone with prosopagnosia personally so that I can find out more about how they deal with it in regards to relationships and such.

Sep. 25 2010 12:41 PM
Seth Q Forester from San Francisco, CA


You made me heart my girl so much more. I'm going to draw a comic about this now.

Sep. 23 2010 05:03 PM
Dan Witten from Crown Point, IN

Great episode. I really think you have a tie in here between the experiment with falling on the SCAD Diving and the Theory of Relativity segment you guys had a couple weeks back! Or maybe it's just me having no idea about what the theory of relativity is! LOL

Sep. 23 2010 02:42 PM
Gina Pera

Love "Falling Time."

I've been looking for someone to answer that question, but for an entirely different reason than the obvious.

Brilliant. Thank you.

Sep. 23 2010 12:27 AM
Danny Kim from Seattle

What song plays at the end of Simon and Sarita's story? Perfect piece of music to end with, genius production.

Sep. 22 2010 03:21 PM
Eddie Lin from Los Angeles

Man, Sarita & Simon's story. Heartbreaking. Great job, Lulu.

Sep. 21 2010 05:29 PM

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