Monday, 24 December 2012

Here Today? Gone (3 yrs ago) Tomorrow

writer/contributor... composer/performer... organizer/arranger... founder/editor... Zigeuner or goner... Littler

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The last time I saw him, I was in transit at the library, my chosen site for gratis e-correspondence, connection to my next stop.

In addition to the normal collection of studious young researchers, there was always this regular group of older- to slightly older familiar faces. It was never easy to tell if they were dissertationalists or homeless or both, their bibliophilic omnipresence, indeterminate grubbiness, and conversation of vaguely scientific interest banding them together.

Fittingly enough, this was to be one of my last visits, as an e-line connection @ me DOT home was in the works, and on this particular day, during this particular period, the library on Breite-Str. was undergoing - also, appropriately - renovation.

I had finished whatever internetting I felt I had to do and was on my way out when I caught a glimpse of him sitting on the bench I only used when I had a lot of time to kill, sort of out-of-the-way under the stairwell leading to the Economics section, between the wall of periodicals and the photocopier room.

He was looking down, so he didn't see me. I was neither in a hurry, nor did I have a great deal of time. I took the few steps I needed to be within whisper-shot (unfortunately not a librarial necessity anymore) and said hello.

His measured enthusiasm mirrored mine, but there was something missing, and it was only later that it occurred to me that perhaps he didn't recognize who I was, and much later than that, that what was missing may have been an expression of how he really felt, that his measured enthusiasm had been painstakingly conjured. God knows, I know how to fake measured enthusiasm; just ask me how I'm doing.

@ @ @

When I got the e-mail - with a Re: in the subject-line followed by my chosen title to a mail I had written several weeks prior - it didn't take forever for me (via projection or avoidance or denial) to suspect another fake.

For I had once used an alias to guilt someone into finally removing me from their most annoying mailing list. I pretended to be a relative using my e-mail address to close out all correspondence, informing the recipient that I had passed tragically.

So when I received this message from his [family member] using John's e-mail address, ostensibly to settle remaining business, my second or third thought was: There are two ways to get out of dodge. This is the one. Or this is the other.

Now, it might be that it was not the result of suspicion so much as my having figuratively-literally heard the words coming from his e-box. Thereby, my inability to separate the voice from the box remains psychogrammatically intact.

The message said that John had died after haemorrhaging cerebrally some time on or about the end of the year. I promptly responded, extending my condolence, expressing my genuine sentiment regarding his worth to the scene and his friends therein.

That he had died was unsettling, depressing. Yet the feeling that he hadn't just simply up and died, but rather up and went, refreshes occasionally still.

The only further information surrounding his demise I got from Wikipedia. Initially oddly phrased and inappropriately tensed, the specifics and timing have been altered on a few occasions.

Since I had already offered my assistance in organizing the coming Bleepfest, receiving one last reply that that was being worked out and I'd be hearing more, I have not since attempted another inquiry.

I leave th@ address in peace. Tho' his links remain, John Littler does not.

photo of John Littler by Verena Lehmbrock, Berlin Sep 2008