Had a fantastic day Saturday: got out, saw people, hung out with friends. Sunday was for the most part a lazy day around the house, until the evening when I learned of the untimely and rather horrible death of a man I did not know as well as I would have liked. What always struck me about Greg
was that he always seemed such a fundamentally decent guy. And he was about my age, which is a little unusual in my social set, so I may have paid more attention to him than his quietness would otherwise have drawn. But I remember, when I sent out mail that probably reached around a thousand people announcing a dinner to celebrate the one year anniversary of my release from the hospital after my stroke, Greg replied, saying he was sorry he couldn't be there and congratulating me on my progress. just a little gesture of kindness — I remember that at the time it brought me a slight smile, thinking how perfectly that seemed in character with what little I knew of the man.
The manner of his death made me shudder. He made the 911 call, trapped in his house while it burned. I remembered finding myself on the floor of my room when I had my stroke, trying to drag myself to the phone, unable to lift my head off the floor or even crawl; gasping for breath and unable to get enough air no matter how hard I tried. I imagined it must have been much the same for Greg when he called 911. Except help did not arrive in time and he never did find enough air.
So I went to bed last night with a heavy heart, and didn't sleep well. Woke up ungodly early, and by 8:00 was sitting at my desk, doing paperwork. That's what I do when mortality makes its presence felt: I work. I've actually been consulting a little lately, and around 11:00 got a call that WAN installers had shown up at a client's office without bothering to schedule it with anyone first. Called a cab, got dressed, got to the client's within 20 minutes, and had everything organized in fairly short order. Spent the rest of the day at the client doing other things, then went to the datacenter and worked til almost 10:00 pm. So overall almost certainly the most productive day I've had since before my stroke.
I wish I'd known Greg well enough to cry for him. Instead, I'll retreat from the precipice into work. Greg was a geek; I think he'd understand.