Or maybe, how much you are missing right now?
I've been called "hyper-observant" and "obsessively-compulsively pre-meditating", amongst other adjectives and adverbs which are somewhat less complimentary... and it's likely they're all true, to an extent. Whether it's a reaction to the results of previous life-choices or simply a consequence of how my genes were spliced together, I'm not sure. But I tend to pick up on things others miss, make connections (cognitive leaps) some might not.
Right now, I'm picking up on something everyone else probably already knows. I'm realizing that I've missed some really important things lately. And over the course of many moons.
I've tried to spend this weekend reflecting carefully on the meaningful impact the lives of others have had on me, and hopefully marking some meaningful impact I've had on those I love. But from my youth and adolescence in school, to young adulthood, and on to the present, I've reached a conclusion:
I'm shit at acknowledging and respecting the influence others have had on my life. Sometimes I'm just shit at letting them influence my life at all.
I knew Chris "Q" Quinonez.
Which isn't true, really. Sure, we lived and worked together the better part of two years, continued working together occasionally for another two or three after that. We might have hung out once or twice, off-duty, after hours, as groups of us did back then. I remember coming out of my place one day in 2006 or 2007 and seeing him drive by on his route. I ran over to the next place and chatted with him briefly - about who knows what - but I remember him being kind and welcoming and in no particular rush even though he was working. I also remember eating at El Chihuahua (his dads place, his place) - years and years ago - though I can't remember why or even if he had a chance to sit down and chat.
There was a kind of a wry, yet gentle smirk, perpetually fixed to his face. Like he knew the punchline before anyone else, which was probably true. He was always great about coming up with something even more sarcastic and smart-assy... He always had an amazing retort. I remember he would make everyone laugh, though sometimes his comments were lost on the guys with their heads crammed too far up their own asses - myself included - but the laughs would come once everyone had relaxed their sphincters a bit.
Mostly, and especially as I listened to stories this weekend from people who actually knew Q, those who were actually involved in his life, I remembered and marked all the things I couldn't remember about him. I didn't know the women in his life, never met his children, and I only met some of his family for the first time in the ICU. I know he was a postman and I've heard he enjoyed it quite a bit. I know he helped his dad with the restaurant, and I know a lot of The Dudes were very close to him.
I know that I was pretty excited to have that "Add" show up on Facebook a few days ago.
And as I tried to go over all of conversations we ever had in an effort to reconstruct, acknowledge and respect his influence on me, I noticed the voice I had attributed to him began to fade, it didn't quite sound like him anymore in my head. The smirk isn't quite right either, and it's become quite a lot harder to remember things that were fresh just last night...
And yet, more than anything, I am grateful to the Sinners and Saints who've been with him every step, fighting demons right by his side, giving aid and comfort, and supporting his survivors even now. Thank you all for your influence on me, for your example.
May your voices remain clear and true in my head.