Monday, December 13, 2004

Into the snow

Friday night I went out P-Doug and we had a few beers. I gave him some music and animations on disk. He had gone over a "read me first" section of a resume site I've been working on. Pretty much everything he's suggested so far was all good and made sense but I kind of balked at this one. The read me first I'd written was a brief, very personable piece about who I was professionally; how I'd started out in the animation industry, found it unrewarding, and wound up in tech writing. P-Doug thought it was off-putting where it got into the downside of the animation industry. He felt that it should focus on "these are the skills I bring". To me, that's nothing more than a restatement of the resume. If that's all it is, a summary of the resume, what do I need it for? Maybe I'm wrong; he's the guy who has to do the hiring where he works. But I was proud of what I wrote, and how human a document it is. Everything else on the disk is dry as the Sahara. Aside from a couple of cartoon foxes to give the site personality and the "read me first" part, there's nothing else there about who I am. The bottom line for me is this: yes, it's about looking for a different job. But if the guy at the other end couldn't give a shit about who I am behind the skills set... if he or she couldn't care less about me as a person and I'm going to be nothing more than talking corporate property, then I'm not interested in working there. If I sound like someone interesting to work with (the read me first file), and I've got the skills to do the job (resume and work samples), then we should talk. I think he's right that it needs to at least say general what I can do, and I'll rework the piece on that basis, but I'm sticking to my guns on the general slant. I am really not interested in trading this job for one that's LESS attractive.

Saturday I decided I needed to shop for a few gifts and stuff. But it's two weeks till Christmas. No way was I getting in the car and trying to park somewhere. I decided I'd walk up Sheppard to Mark's Work Warehouse and Canadian Tire. As I got ready, it started to snow. I decided to walk it anyhow. I brought my camera so I could take pictures in the snow to show my friend in Dublin. It was the first time I've walked through Lescon Park in the nearly five years I've lived where I do. It was beautiful. There were footprints in the snow, but I didn't see another person till I got all the way to Sheppard. I went to the stores up on the hill, and then headed back. I thought I'd take a new route through the burbs, but it turned out to be a hopelessly long one. A nice walk, but I was frustrated by not knowing where I was going. A couple of times the route took me in directions I didn't want to go. But I eventually got home. But then, it was pretty dark. I was surprised how very suddenly it got dark, too. It was gloomy for most of the trip, and then suddenly, pow. It was definitely night. The temperature was right around freezing, so the sidewalks were a little tricky. But all in all, it was a great little wander. I was on my feet for nearly three hours, and I expect I walked about three miles or so. Sunday I meant to get out and mail some things, but I just never got around to it. I did drive to Lick's for a nature burger (with cheese, for once) and nature chili. That was a good meal.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


History buffs will remember that today, December 7th, is Pearl Harbor Day. It's the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, bringing the United States into WWII with the rest of us.

For me, it has another connotation, one that I've been dwelling on. A kind of turning point, or milestone. It's six months today since Jody died. That was a Monday; this is a Tuesday.

So I'm left sitting here this morning wondering what I'd do if I could turn back time. I "spoke" to him last on June 4th, via ICQ, sitting right where I'm sitting right now. When I got up to go home and said "adore", how could I have known it was for the last time? That it was farewell? Six months ago, at this very moment, he was still alive, though he must have been in a very bad way. I'm not sure exactly when he died; no one really is because he was alone in his room, and found collapsed on the floor. He must have been trying to go for help when the pain or lack of breath took away consciousness. Forever. Timber, the roommate who found him, reckons it to have been between 8:30 and 9 (as I recall) CST. That would have been 9:30 or 10 here. I was just sitting at my desk, busying myself with little things, while perhaps the sweetest person who's ever been in my life was dying. If I'd known, what would I have done? Called him up more, certainly. Talked to him, covetted his time. I would definitely have visited him; something I never did. It's all too late now. But maybe it's better this way. At a distance, he could always be just Ruby, not Jody-with-cancer every single second. He told me a few times what a bittersweet thing visits were. Nice to see people, nice to be loved, but physically exhausting, and emotionally... I mean, every visit must have seemed like good-bye when you weren't sure how much time you had, but you knew, odds were, it wasn't much. "Two years" became seven months.

Something fundamental about my moorings in life was about to pull loose six months ago right now. But I didn't know that yet. I had a sick friend I was very worried about, and in cold, honest moments, feared would soon die. But "soon" was a year and a half. And then he was gone. And all that's left is sweet memories, a name on the ICQ bar, and a little pouch in a cedar chest at home with a few grams of my RubyOcelot's powdered bones inside. Bones that once made a happy little boy run and jump, and carried around the brilliant mind of a wonderful young programmer. Oh, Jody. I miss you. This world's a poorer place, and hardly even knows it.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

How they shine

I'm missing Jody quite a bit this afternoon. We're closing in on six months since he died. Less than a week. This is a major milestone coming up. It wasn't quite summer yet that day, that horrible day I took that drive in the rain, in a new world that didn't have Jody in it. In a world where I could no longer get on the computer or even pick up a phone and talk to him, touch souls with RubyOcelot. Know for sure he/she was there. I'm only guessing these days.

Is the pain and sadness the only thing I have left to give him? This soulhunger and yearning, something that can never ever be filled... is that all there is left? Jody, I want to talk to you so much. I know you know what you meant to me, and I know you know that I know what I meant to you in return. But would it be so terrible if we could say it again, just once in a while? I'm grateful I had you in my life and that I was in yours, but it feels wrong that I didn't take it for granted, I cherished it, and it was still taken away. Worse yet, that you had learned in the greatest possible terms not to take your life for granted anymore, as you once did, and still it was taken away... not after a long life of 50 or 60 more years, but almost instantly.

I don't know. Maybe that was all the growth your soul needed to do in this life, or something. That and the magnificent bravery you showed in the face of so much pain, fear, and disappointment. There should be monuments to you. Even as base and shallow a creature as me can see that. Sometimes, like this morning on the way to work, I find myself wishing it had been me instead. I would have been unbearable, and it would have been a fitting end. And it would be over for me now. Jody deserved to go on and on. If I could close my eyes and cease, with only the consolation of certain knowledge that Jody would wake up instead, I would do it. How sweet it would be if we could pass each other in that split second, clasp hands, and he could know and understand. That's selfish of me, but I would only want him to know how beloved he really was. It wouldn't be driven by bravery. I'm not a brave man. But I think I could do that. I don't have courage, but I do have love. That's fuel enough.

Oh, God. Is the sadness Jody left in his wake the only monument You're prepared to give him? Please... inspiration. Give us something. Give me something. Show me what to do.