An old friend of mine messaged me earlier this week to ask if I knew anything about the death of a mutual acquaintance we knew from college. Another friend of ours had been in touch with the news of his passing, which she’d seen in our class notes.
This was all news to me. The friend in question is someone I deliberately cut out of my life about 10 years ago when it became clear to me that he was not going to overcome his mental health issues on my watch. And that’s all I could do – watch him disintegrate and obsess and transform into someone I didn’t even recognize.
I loved him a little. Then I became frustrated with his constant need to argue with and antagonize me and others. Eventually, he stopped leaving the house entirely. When he came to believe that the NSA had staked out his parents’ house to monitor his activities (especially his Wikipedia edit wars), I knew things were pretty bad. It was exhausting talking to him and I was exhausted. So I stopped, periodically wondering if he was maybe doing better. Maybe someone else was helping him. Maybe his family. Maybe a therapist. Maybe not.
I hunted down that class notes update and discovered that although it was posted this year, he actually died last summer. Whomever sent in the update waited a whole year. There’s no information that I could find about his death. No obituary, no articles. It’s like he never existed. I found an old thread on the school’s CS forum with his email and found his FB page (which I’d also blocked), but I didn’t know any of the people who had posted there, and the most recent posts were for his birthday – two or more years ago. How well did those people know him? Well enough to know that something was wrong? I’m hesitant to message any of them and be the bearer of bad news. But, still I wonder if any of them knows what happened.
The night before I’d heard about any of this, I had a dream about him – not anything that brought back any good memories (I do have some), but one that just emphasized how fucked up things were between us when we stopped talking. When I stopped talking. It’s a weird coincidence. Not related to his actual death, clearly, since he died last year, but to this announcement. I feel a little haunted by all of it.
I don’t know if there’s any good way to die when you’re still young enough to crawl out of whatever dark pit you’ve been lost in. I hope he did make it out. I’m not sure it matters. It’s tragic if he did and then lost his life, and tragic if he didn’t because he failed to find it. Maybe not knowing what happened is better.
It’s 4am and I am wide awake and doing things. I figure there will be time for naps later, since I took the day off. Still, thanks body, for refusing to let the patriarchy control your biorhythms!
I think it was the taco dream that woke me up. I was reading through this book of taco recipes yesterday at work and thinking how good they would be, but talked myself out of Chipotle after work because my last meal there was kind of tasteless and forgettable. I want delicious fewds! I fixed something at home instead. But I now know that unfulfilled taco cravings will wake you up just as surely as repeat performances from their actual ingestion!
In my dream, I realize that the man I am flirting with is not only a talented yoga instructor, but also makes a mean guacamole. And he’s cute. And also, I know him already. And he wants to cook for me. And he doesn’t mind my garlic breath. Overwhelmed by this opportunity, I wake up sans yoga instructor, tacos, and guacamole.
Mornings are hard.
I overdid things yesterday – long bike ride before work, school visit, info desk at night. Felt like I’d been run over by the time I got home. Woke up and couldn’t face doing it again. My health feels fragile (especially with half our staff coming down with the plague). So I’ve been home knitting scales and watching every flavor of Alice in Wonderland that I’ve been able to borrow through the library. I’m about to start #4.
The first one was a play production with a very young Meryl Streep (she wears pink overalls and has frizzy hair and sings and dances). The man who plays the Cheshire Cat is also fantastic. And the Queen of Hearts has a blood red swishy dress that’s just divine. It’s kind of gloomy and weird (the music isn’t anywhere near as catchy as the Disney version), but I enjoyed seeing something new.
I also watched theTV version with Whoopi Goldberg as the Cheshire Cat. This was one I thought was a favorite, but it seems that’s no longer the case. The Alice in this version is so anxious about performing a piece at her parents’ afternoon tea that she runs away to Wonderland where the denizens help her out with her self confidence. I did like that the Wonderland people and creatures were all guests from the tea party back in the real world.
#3 was the Disney one, and so far I like it the best. The music is good, and their Alice is confident and comfortable being dreamy and with nonsense. There’s still that tension between her growing up and staying a child, but she’s less hesitant than some of the other Alices. Plus she talks to Dinah and expects a response.
I’m about to start “Jan Svankmajer’s Alice & Darkness Light Darkness,” which I don’t think I’ve seen before.
I was going to go out and get some things at the store, but it’s started to snow. So…I have put some ingredients in the bread machine and the oven and I’m letting these appliances do their magic.
Totally unrelated to anything: I downloaded a new browser for my phone – UC browser. It has a little squirrel icon with mysterious tattoos. So far I like it.
of my diminishing attention span:
This morning I got dressed and put on a bra, then started to put on another one on top of the first. I guess you can never have too much support. Halfway through this I stopped and looked at the mess o’ bras and thought, “Hey, now. That’s a lot of bras.” Everything is fine here now.
“We want to be loved. Failing that, admired; failing that, feared; failing that, hated and despised. At all costs we want to stir up some sort of feeling in others. The soul abhors a vacuum. At all costs it longs for contact.” (as quoted in “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry,” by Fredrik Backman; from “Doctor Glas,” by Hjalmar Söderberg)
my OKC profile today. Completely. It was as satisfying as creating it. I got a message from OKC saying they’d removed a photo that some schumck deemed inappropriate. I can’t even remember what I had up there that didn’t fit their guidelines…maybe the picture of my toolbelt? (It’s waist down.) I do find it irritating that someone felt the need to be an asshole about it, though. Why would anyone care? People with too much time on their hands. Anyway, that won’t be a problem anymore! I have fixed it permanently. And some day there will be some new thing and new way to connect with people. Maybe one that’s more satisfying (OKC hasn’t been that now for a long time). Later, gators.
I saved all the calories for cheese today. Cheeeeese.