I don’t play well with others.
I am quite territorial, easily bored, sarcastic and possessive.
I am particularly fond of my computer/laptop. In fact I used to say “you can touch my beer, you can even touch my wife'”, but keep your fucking hands away from my laptop.
I got a nice promotion in 2007. I joined an international interactive team of company heavyweights. All highly intelligent people, based out of London. It was a big deal. It was the first real recognition of my talents and skills. Not many Dutch employees had achieved that particular feat. After I was hired I was informed that a member of this heavyweight team was going to make me feel welcome and give me like an introductory course in the team’s goals, objectives and responsibilities. The person who would be showing me the ropes was also Dutch. He had a reputation as a highly intelligent guy who worked huge accounts and often more complex technical research and software.
No date or time was set for this event, which I thought was really odd. I wasn’t given the guy’s email or phonenumber so I could contact him. Nothing. He was gonna contact me, “soonish, you’ll see”! A few days later – I am walking back from the cafetaria, holding a coffee and there is a panicked co-worker rushing towards me… “There is some guy sitting at your desk”… this already got my blood boiling but then he added petrified “and he’s using your machine, he’s typing and stuff”.
I stormed into our shared office and… there he was.
Dressed in nondescript dark-blue jeans, brown leather shoes, a dark blue sweater and a windbreaker.
He pretty much always dressed like that.
He threw me a big smile.
“There you are”!
He logged off, shut down, stood up and said: “Mr <>… We. Are. Leaving. Grab your jacket”.
He then handed me my jacket and scarf and he motioned me out of the office, towards the elevator.
“We are going to take the elevator downstairs” – he actually pointed down as if I was brain-damaged or something – “and then leave the office. And then we will then find a bar. Do you know what that is”?
Yes. I do.
“Good. And in that bar we are going to drink and talk”.
... And we did.
Over the course of the next years it’s what we did all the time. We’d go out and we’d talk. About workrelated stuff, and familystuff and theoretical crazy stuff.
When in London, or abroad elsewhere, we’d do the same, but with more alcohol and often until much, much later.
We were off the charts.
We debated Jimi Hendrix, the contours of the Middle East following World War I, SPSS, Dostoyevsky, why chess-players are idiots (yes even the good ones), nuclear weapons, Southern Comfort, Italy the country vs Italy the food, George Orwell, from Catalonia, not 1984, Wargames, syntax, the difference between the Apertura in Spain (when Franco left power) vs. the apertura in Brazil (when the Generals finally got kicked out and democracy was restored), the internet, video codecs and why they kind of suck, Miles Davis, our hatred for Dutch taxes, our hatred for non Dutch taxes, how to avoid Dutch taxes, how to avoid non-Dutch taxes, how to delay Dutch taxes, how to delay non-Dutch taxes, how to limit Dutch taxes, how to limit non-Dutch taxes, how to scam Dutch taxes and how to scam non-Dutch taxes, his love of sailboats, my absolute dislike of sailboats, Red Wine, working with women, working for bosses, the English language and why most people really suck at writing documentation, pitches and reports – and yes that includes the Brits, South Africa, Hong Kong, the 1980s, the history of computing, tobacco and smoking, cats, our dislike of television, our disdain for what passes for news media in our miserable country, travelling, aeroplanes, why poker players are idiots (yes even the good ones), John Coltrane, why most people working for the EU are complete idiots, why the Dutch government in all its glorious bureaucratic branches completely and totally fucking sucks at IT and Digital, our bosses, working without bosses, the many intricate flaws of our bosses and ignoring our bosses, whiny people, fat people, old people, dumb people, why Buenos Aires is cool, having money, being poor, the Independent, our dislike of smart phones, our dislike of work phones, the madness and sickness that is religion, why God doesn’t exist, why people of faith are delusional, Italy the women vs. Italy the food, his daughter, my ex-wife, his wife, my daughter, Amsterdam, his strange odd, secluded village, its surroundings and history, his stock-options, why all women are crazy, why folcloric dress and dancing should be a criminal offense, Cuba, the IRA, our love of slick, fast and light laptops, how to acquire new laptops through work, how to acquire newer laptops through work, how to buy even newer laptops and get them reimbursed through work, customs, Whisky, fish and fishing, University, market-research, the Brussels Business, Google, Microsoft, video formats and why they kind of suck, Bloody Mary’s, why nicotine is an integral part of breakfast… and endless wonderful workrelated topics and tales….
We’d refer to it ominously and lyrically as “into the night without end”.
He met my daughter.
They really hit it off, they liked each other immediately.
I met his daughter. She was in University; an incredibly smart young lady.
I met his wife. A charming, talkative, feisty woman.
I visited his house and he visited mine.
When we’d meet or say goodbye we’d shake hands firmly.
He’d smile and say “until the next adventure Mr. <>”.
Alas… no more.
With profound sadness SlimK1nd notes:
Mr G. passed away yesterday.
He is survived by his wife and daughter, his family, friends and colleagues.
Mr. G didn’t have a job-title.
I am not making that up.
I’ve never known anybody without a job-title.
In his emails, reports and what have you? At the bottom it just said his name with his cell phone below it.
Same with his business-cards.
Just his name and cell-phone.
He was a brilliant mind, a radical thinker with a wonderful sense of humor.
A gifted and charming conversationalist.
One of the smartest people I’ve ever worked and hung out with.
A dear friend and mentor.
In the end?
I am glad I didn’t bash your head in when I caught you sitting at my desk, using my computer.
Rest in peace, my friend.
We’re offline for a bit.