Saturday, August 30, 2008

Goodbye Greg

Greg Jennings
Today I learned about the loss of a friend. Greg Jennings was a tall, slender, quiet man with a mystic smile that made you wonder what he was thinking. It was college, and Greg was a phase in my life where I experimented with the concept of Great Romance. I was young, stupid, overly emotive, and quite frankly the world's most psychotic girl friend. It's lucky we both survived the experience.

Fortunately, Greg stayed his mellow self. He became a forest ecologist for the Bureau of Land Management, married Lisa, and lived his life by his own terms. A motorist killed him Monday as he commuted home from work on his bike. All accounts suggest that he was doing the commute right, with all the correct gear, behavior, and location on the road. Some complete idiot hit him anyway.

The news came to me through a mutual friend with a long list of CC email addresses, each name of which triggered a series of flashbacks. These were the people of my young adulthood with whom I spent hours drinking, dancing, philosophizing over coffee in East Bay diners, and contemplating the infinite possibilities of the navel. Some were at my wedding, others were lovers, most were people I haven't seen in two decades. Our musings on Greg's death remind me why Dean and I are cruising.

There is no assurance. We assume we will all just keep going. Hoffman and Mulloy, Kalin and Dyer, Jost, Hickman, Makler... Jennings. And then we find out they stop. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that we all stop. So obvious. Live today for tomorrow some asshole will change the music on his iPod and strike us down.

I don't miss Greg; I haven't seen him since the 80's so it would be complete drama queen to say I miss him or that this is extraordinarily painful news. I miss the idea of Greg being somewhere living his life, doing his thing, smiling his enigmatic smile, and smelling good to his wife. I miss the total fallacy of a certain future. I want him back so that I can once again ignore mortality.

I want to sail away this afternoon with my husband and children and never come back.


Jody said...

I am so sorry about your friend.

Bill and I are both cyclists, and fear of being mowed over is what keeps us from riding here.

So sad.

Kelly said...

I'm sorry, Toast. Very sad.

Unknown said...

Hey Toast,
Sweet tribute and I'm feeling very similar. I remember those Berkeley and Sac days with you fondly. When I got the cryptic message from Jeff on Friday I discovered later that he didn't want to call me back because I was cycling home from work. Just as we don't speak as often as we used to doesn't mean I'm not thinking of you, Dean, and your family floating about. I am happy to know you're in the world and I'm sad that Greg is not.


Anonymous said...

I truly understand the feeling here Toast. More than 20 years ago I spent 73 days in the hospital, months in a wheel chair, and many more months on crutches and basically learning to walk again after being hit by a car on my bike.
The driver was DUI.
I truly understand wanting to sail away with one own family.

Anonymous said...

It is nice to land here, on this site to see people talk about Greg.

Like Toast, I had not seen Greg in 20 years, and had at that time enjoyed lots of fun times, as he planned to marry my best friend, Maureen Seitz. That love ended in tragedy when Maureen passed away. I knew Greg would go on to become the amazing person that he did and i am happy for that.

I find irony that this tragedy continues to be played out. The last bit being that i did an internet search last night to find Greg, with a hope of reconnecting.

I do miss Greg- my heart sags with the weight of my grief and the irony that both he and Maureen were taken so early in their lives.

May we all live more presently, and love our friends and family with passion.

Carrie Gaynor