02 November 2009

this is a tribute...

I was inspired to go through my own music collection in alphabetical order recently, a to z, with the hope to catch up on some things I haven't been listening to much lately. It is a great way to get reacquainted with old favorites or things you've downloaded but never really absorbed. So please scroll down and download/listen to a truly great song by Jeff Buckley while I honor a friend.

For much of this year I have been a frequent visitor to our friendly downtown neighborhood pub and while I became casually acquainted with many of the regulars and staff at Pat's, I hadn't really ever gotten out of my own head enough to make any lasting friendships.

Then I finally chatted with a fella named Ian who I occasionally noticed coming in briefly after closing down the restaurant next door. After finding out it was his restaurant I mentioned I had been meaning to give it a taste, but with my hours I kept missing out before they closed most nights. So eventually coming back from a trip to Portland I came into downtown on a Sunday afternoon with some time to spare and tasted the fare. A few weeks later I moved into the same building upstairs, putting me in the thick of a neighborhood I had become fond of as the nearest replication of the best parts of Vancouver and Portland in Tacoma.

That's when I made a stop into the restaurant after work one evening hoping to catch a bite before the kitchen closed, so I didn't even stop upstairs to change clothes. I had no intention of going anywhere else that night. I just wanted a good bite to eat before turning in for the night. Ian had other plans. I don't even know what possessed him to do so, but he turned and insisted that I was to come out with he and his friends. I settled my tab and considered just walking around the block and going home. I am sure that would have been fine, but I thought why not?

The rest of that evening was fairly interesting. I am not sure it was really a normal night for this group of guys because Ian dropped me off and apologized for everything, insisting they usually have more fun than that and making a point to insist I give them another chance. What he probably didn't realize was that it was more entertaining than anything else I'd done all year with my free time.

So over the next few months we hung out numerous times and Ian tried his best to get me into better spirits. He seemed to take it as a personal insult that I didn't have women tripping over themselves to talk to me. He said that he was the one who was awkward with women, but I should have my pick of the litter. Maybe it's what men say when they're drunk and projecting things. I wasn't really that concerned with "hooking up" as much as having fun, making friends and developing relationships that might help me meet the one I'm really looking for. I guess you could say I prefer the indirect approach? And I suppose you can say I got my wish. Not only was Ian a great friend; loyal and generous, but he led me into some great friendships with so many really great people. I can honestly say that I never would have gotten out of my own head long enough to actually talk to all these people I kept seeing down here all along. It isn't that I didn't think they were worth it, but that I didn't want to assume I was free to invade their space (to borrow an apology from one of them).

Now Ian has left us. A lot of close friends are suffering a terrible loss. Ian meant something slightly different to each of us, but the common thread is that he meant a LOT to everyone. Ian lived out loud. He didn't worry about invading your space. It isn't that he didn't care, just that he knew better than to doubt himself. He understood the power of collisions--that our lives were richer the more interconnected we were and there was never a need to apologize for being a friend.

I will miss Ian a lot, but more than that I worry that I only knew him a brief time and that whatever of him that rubbed off on me might fade away too quickly. I worry that the things he taught me about life (without effort) could pass as easily as a fog settles in on a cold night. Perhaps he was the only glue holding some of us together and without him we will scatter like atoms in an ever-expanding universe.

I know for certain that I will come away with a sense that life is too short to live it all wrong. I know all the things I thought were holding me back from making changes to live my life more true to course don't really mean anything. When the tears are dry there is really nothing of value that can hold me from becoming what I am. The trap I felt holding me in a job that never felt like a good fit for me, on shifts I never desired--that intruded on my life more than I wanted to allow--was only one I constructed for my own mind and now I can see the way out.

So to the best friend I have made in so many years (though I take none of the credit whatsoever), here's to your early departure... rest easy and be at peace while we take the long road to where you are!

Jeff Buckley
Last Goodbye