Friday, December 09, 2022

Dan. 1969-2022.

someone i knew passed away yesterday

Dan was 53. he left behind a loving family, who i can't help but mourn for as i sit in my comfortable home with my own family.

one of our mutual friends called me earlier today to give me the news. it was after an afternoon walk with my wife on a rare day where we were both work from home. i've spent the afternoon and evening trying to distract myself with work, interspersed with a few texts and phone calls among the many folks who Dan similarly befriended and mentored.

i met Dan when i was an intern, in an emotionally tumultuous part of my early 20s. he one of the first "digital" guys at my new, big company. back then i remember thinking he was a really, nice, smart, cool dude. then i found out before starting work he traveled the country in a rock band. my mind was blown.

i eventually started working at said big company. Dan was one of the few folks i always modeled my approach after. i could barely hold a candle to his accomplishments, but when i tried to do and be more like him, i really shined. he gave me so many examples and advice that i carried through other parts of my career. i'm not sure he knew that, and i probably didn't thank him enough.

after i left corporate life, we stayed in loose contact. i'd head back to Cincinnati for work trips, and he'd always be one of the folks i wanted to reconnect with for advice, usually outside on one of his smoke breaks, which all of us who he mentored were accustomed to. he was always gracious to help me make further connections. when he found out the name of the new town i lived in, he introduced me to a pal, who soon became a big part of my NY life. 

several years ago, Dan called me because his career was about to connect him with a lot of folks i used to work with in a past job. we reconnected on work and life. once his thing became more official, i introduced him to a few more of my friends from that part of my work/life after him, who i knew he'd be working with. it felt really nice to be able give something back to him professionally.

we traded emails and calendar invites, but they became more interspersed. kind words and short moments, and scheduling gymnastics to find time to reconnect. kids made it harder for me. i know i could have made a greater effort. Dan and his family stayed on our silly holiday card list, with an occasional email here and there over the years. other friends we had in common were much closer to him. i kinda envied them, but didn't sweat it. i knew we'd always find time to connect here and there (maybe even on a podcast), and it would always be great.

i find myself filled with regret that i won't get to talk to my pal Dan again. this feels like a selfish thing to be writing down. i can't help but miss you brother, and send my love to your family and friends who mourn and celebrate your life. 

rest in peace brother,

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

8:21am peak train

It's been nearly 2.5 years since I've "gone into the city." Don't get me wrong, we've made a few cautious weekend road trips to see close friends, and drive the kids down to the Bronx to the Botanical Gardens and/or zoo. But for the first time in what feels like forever, I packed a banana, dusted off my backpack, zipped up my 'nice' hoodie, and jumped on a commuter train for a day full of important meetings.

While I'm by no means the first to return to this routine, i could sense a nervous energy of the fellow commuters on the platform. Some standing with their backs facing the crowd, others making sure their masks were snug, all eying each other cautiously. And once on the train, fortunately most were masked (baller/dick move of the maskless girl who got to have a seat to herself amongst a crowded train). And while every morning commute is always a Zen crowd of considerate and quiet workers, sleepers, and podcast listeners - there is an erie calm and exhausted trepidation. The only similar vibe is from years ago, the days after a derailment, when we all sat silent all the train, quiet but not restful.

I'm probably reading too much into this. Writing to calm my own nerves.

A lot has changed in 2.5 years since I abandoned this daily work routine. Sure, a pandemic and variants and vaccines. But a radical change to my work, a long overdue racial reckoning, an election, an insurrection, a new child, a somehow older child, lots more podcasts/comics, and a new routine to match it all. All of which I skipped writing about here because I found other ways to expend my nervous anxieties and creative energies

So as I sit here on this peak rush hour train hurtling towards my favorite building in the world's greatest city (and back again), I find myself sincerely wondering: Am I ready to do this, again?

I guess I'll find out in a bit.

I wonder what the subway is going to be like?
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