If you know me, you’ve likely heard me say this. I stole it. It’s not my quote, but I have permission to use it. So, maybe I didn’t exactly steal it. This guy said it.
I met Michael Logan 4ish years ago. I heard the whirr of his mobility scooter and I was trapped. It was a meeting of the Retro Gamers Society, a group Evyl and I had recently joined. Before me sat an older gentleman in said scooter with a flag attached. It was a black flag with a skull adorned in sugar skull styling with a Legend of Zelda motif. Different, but definitely a flavor of different that I could relate to.
I once cringed at the sound of that whirr. I knew, regardless of whatever else I was doing or where I was going that whirr meant I was spending at least the next twenty minutes of my life with Michael Logan. Didn’t take long before I started looking forward to those encounters and even sought them out. There was a distinct loss to those meetups where I didn’t hear the whirr.
Walk and talk
Evyl and I have been cat-herding the photography team for SuperBitcon! since year 2. In fact, my photos are still the official documentation for year one by crazy random happenstance. For these events, my extrovert tendencies turn up way past 11. I am a full-on pinball of Ooh! Shiny! Social Butterfly! I don’t stop moving. I high-five everyone.
So here I am in hyper-social my camera is my party cannon mode and there’s the whirr. Michael tells me to walk and talk. I slow down. I’d missed him as we hadn’t seen him for a few meet-ups. He told me he’d been in the hospital again but he was glad he got out in time for the convention. The guy had been on a mobility scooter and generally using oxygen for as long as I’d known him, so I knew he wasn’t in especially awesome health, but I had been unaware that he’d been so recently hospitalized.
I’ve been dying as long as you’ve known me, but everyone is. Life is a terminal condition.
He told me about how he had terminal cancer. The chemo, the bad heart, etc. I must have made concerned face because he assured me that it was all fine. He’d lived a great life and done things most people would never believe. He hadn’t always been the old fat guy in the chair, you know…
Terminal cancer or no, I just kind of expected to keep hearing that whirr, and it just became one of those constants that became a comfort. That whirr meant I was going to be regaled with a story which may or may not involve midget wrestling, or met with a unique bit of wry humor, or shown the newest bit of artwork by his daughter. I always knew I could find him holding down the fort at the Charity Bazaar during the convention. I believe it was year two and there was a super nifty if I do say so myself crocheted Legend of Zelda throw pillow up for grabs in the charity auction. Michael pointed it out to me talking about the hours and hours of labor involved in making it. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise until I could no longer control the giggling. Yeah, I made it. I know.
If I recall correctly, he got the second Legend of Zelda hat that I crocheted. Stole it fair and square in the annual RGS gift exchange. That whirr was the prelude to that laugh. A laugh that was always contagious and inclusive.
It was just assumed that I’d outlive Michael and now I have. That whirr is silenced. The day we all knew was coming has come. Far too quietly for my taste, but here we are. I still wasn’t ready. We certainly had our differing viewpoints on many, many things, but my life is richer and fuller for having known him and he will be missed. Please, read Evyl’s tribute as well. He was special to both of us.
As my friend so eloquently reminded me, life is a terminal condition.