Notes From The Flip Side: 11.11.2001
Saturday night. Early November. Fall is here. The mornings are getting chilly. The evenings are cooler. And I can feel winter creeping in like a peeping tom. I've spent most of the day catching a mouse that moved into my apartment. Squeaky, as Stephanie calls it, is currently resting in a shoebox with some torn up tissue paper and some peanut butter. I'll be turning it loose tomorrow during the day to give it a bit more of a chance against owls and hawks, but right now, I'm watching it. It's barely as big as my thumbnail. And part of me really wants to keep it around. I know I shouldn't and I know I won't, but it still seems important to note that this mouse has been pretty decent company. Except for the droppings it deposited on my pillow. But those cleaned up nicely.
For my part, I'm sitting here, drinking a glass of straight Beam, listening to Owen. The songs are somewhat melancholy. And that suits my mood just fine. I found out Friday morning (that would be Friday, November 2) that a former co-worker of mine killed himself the night before, leaving a family - and questions - behind. He worked in a different office than I did - he was in Portland, I was in San Diego - but we talked on the phone at least once or twice a week. We worked on a few projects together and he was always enthusiastic about his job. He was a nice guy, but I always got the feeling that he was fairly lonely. And I guess this is a sort of proof.
I don't know the details about it - I don't know how or with what. I don't know who found him but I hope it wasn't his family. I've been trying to track them down to offer what condolences I can and see if I can lend a shoulder. After all, I've been down that road several times before and know where all the rest stations are. I'm almost at a point these days where it's like cruising up the interstate, windows down and Springsteen on the radio, wind blowing back what little hair I have to be ruffled ... it's never a happy ride, but surely that's no reason to ignore the beauty and laughter that can be found along the way ... and he never failed to make me laugh.
So this, then, is a eulogy of sorts. It's a memorial for a guy who liked me enough to name one of his servers after one of my hair colors. It's my way of dealing with the death of someone who bewildered me at times but was always, to the best of my knowledge, a profoundly decent human being. And so I sit here alone on a Saturday night, listening to sad songs and raising my glass to someone I knew as I toast his life. And yet again, I find myself remembering Thoreau's words:
"Even the death of friends will inspire us as much as their lives. ... Their memories will be encrusted over with sublime and pleasing thoughts, as monuments of other men are overgrown with moss; for our friends have no place in the graveyard."
Owen, "Self-titled"; New End Original, "Thriller"; National Skyline, "This=Everything"; Owls, "Self-titled"; Waterdown, "Never Kill The Boy On The First Date"; Husking Bee, "4 Color Problem"; Lois Maffeo and Brendan Canty, "The Union Themes"; Saint Etienne, "Interlude"; Cadillac Blindside, "Read The Book, Seen The Movie"; Bright Eyes, "A Collection Of Songs Written And Recorded 1995-1997"; Tristeza, "Dream Signals In Full Circles"; Unitas, "Porch Life"
Bernard Lewis, "The Assassins"; Jerzy Koskinski, "Cockpit"; Nick Hornby, guest editor, and Ben Schaefer, series editor, "Da Capo Best Music Writing 2001"
Steven Heller and Georgette Ballance, "Graphic Design History"; Farhad Daftary, "The Assassin Legends"; Italo Calvino, "t zero" and "if on a winter's night a traveler"; Jeroen de Valk, "Chet Baker: His Life And Music"