Thursday, June 12, 2008

worlds away

Here is a digital revelation- the blogosphere allows us the unique opportunity to mourn people we never actually met.

Last Sunday was LA Pride. I arrived somewhat early. While waiting to meet up with friends for a pre-pride brunch, I was leafing through a local publication and found myself staring at the picture of a fellow blogger. It was a memorial ad.

We lived in the same general area, but I can't say I knew him. I read his blog and his comments, and exchanged infrequent emails. Does that constitute knowing someone in the digital age?

I know that he entered this life in a month when the first Gemini 1 spacecraft was successfully launched, the same month that also brought us Russell Crowe and Andy Bell. I know that his birth coincided with the release of an album called "The Rolling Stones", and that the following day saw the unveiling of the Mustang.

The New York World's Fair was open to an enthusiastic public before he was a week old. It was a time of unmatched optimism and postwar prosperity. The Good Life, it was called. The American Dream. Did he realize his dreams?

I know he was out in high school, which was pretty cutting edge for the early 80's. How difficult was that? I know he went on to college and then a successful career where he was highly visible in the gay community. Was it rewarding?

I know he survived the loss of a partner in the 90's and went on to find another loving relationship. Did he heal?

To have someone so close by, but not really know them. Worlds away, as it were. Is the Internet analogy merely an allegory for the truth of our everyday lives- that we can touch someone every day and not really know them either?

I don't know what happened to him, I only know he's no longer there. And I know that I feel a sense of loss. Our village, digital as it may be, has lost a voice.

For him, a prayer for peace. For us remaining, a wish for solace.

This song has been so on my mind today- Simon and Garfunkel, from the Concert in the Park


citizen jane said...

Beautiful post and elegant sentiment.

For those of us who are active in the blogsphere, our personal world has increased beyond all measure. And such things as this are indeed part of our real life.


Miss Janey said...

What Citizen Jane said. A loss of a good human connection is a loss to the planet.

Last year, Miss J got curious about a man she knew in college. She googled him and discovered he been a very successful performance artist in Chicago. She also discovered he'd died of AIDS while Miss J was absorbed with planning her wedding.

It had been years since she'd seen or thought of him. But knowing that his sensitive, kind nature and creative spirit were gone made her cry.

From your post, its evident he was a friend, whether you'd met or not. Losing a friend always hurts.

Al said...

First time commenter, and actually first time to your site, Jeff. Excellent post. For me, your words as well as the Simon & Garfunkel track hit just the right tones. A nice memorial to someone I never knew, but probably would have liked to. Thank you for that.