Apr. 21st, 2015

akienm: (Default)
I just found out about a death in my family. The person I have regularly associated with longer than any other, Eugene Rominger.

This man was more a brother to me than my own brothers. I will miss him terribly. As I sit here with tears running down my face, writing on some small bit of the things we shared seems like the only sensible thing to do.

I remember being just 21, and going to a party at your place. Clovis in spike heels and Cindy just her huge 6' self. I came in with a girl on each arm, but in both cases, I had to reach upward. That was the day we met.

I remember wrestling with you at the place Clovis and I shared in Dublin. We rolled off the back of the couch and you got a huge cut on your back. Not enough to go to the ER, but enough that you carried the scar ever since.

I remember you sold that motorcycle to Clovis. Wards branded, a small Italian motorcycle. I taught myself to drive it.

I remember that for a while, your motorcycle was your only transit. I thought you were so cool to be able to do that.

I remember countless Ren Faires, in Novato, Hanford, Yosemite, LA… In your brown kilt, with the knives you'd made yourself as decoration. I remember sharing beer, and mead, and schnapps… I remember the cooler you made that looked like a barrel, disguised so it could be on stage with us.

I remember talking about making mead, you eventually did make beer. That was one of the many things I admired you for.

I remember a double date where I made a fool of myself because I was so captivated by your date.

I remember all the things we shared just because both of our fathers had been in the Navy and worked for Pacific Telephone.

I remember how you found it amusing the way I would fall for girls. You said I tended to pick the neurotic ones. You also said the one I have now was far better than the rest for me.

I remember you worked on one of the SpaceX teams for a little while, and built stuff that so amazed me.

I remember the group that met every Tuesday. How we studied the Bradshaw "On The Family" videos. And talked about them and related ideas.

I remember you being my best man when I married Dawn. I remember the tree sculptures you made that one could mount on walls… Or on the priest performing our wedding.

I remember looking up to you in so many ways. You were far more adept with tools and with visual arts than I. I wished I had those skills.

I remember going camping with you, and how in our intoxicated delirium we cut into the lightsticks and dribbled little glowing green dots everywhere.

I remember you being an uncle to my children. "Unca Gene!" they would cry when you came over.

I remember you coming over to help when Gary put a pick through our water line trying to remove a stump. It was a holiday weekend of some kind, and getting a plumber was just going to take a couple of days. But we had zero water. So we used JB Weld, a tomato soup can lid, and a hose clamp to patch it up until the next normal working day.

I remember helping you move, more than once, they all kind of blur together.

I remember you living in Alameda, helping you move in there. Helping you build your elevated waterbed.

I remember all the things we shared about ourselves with each other. You knew me better than most.

I remember knowing that you were depressed, and had been for years, but I had no idea what to do about it. Just kept being there for you.

I remember you finding out you had a heart problem. I also remember years later when you found you'd been misdiagnosed, and didn't need to worry about salt after all.

I remember so many times of helping you with this or that little problem with your various computers.

I remember you moving to the house with the audacious pool, water slides and grotto.

I remember the huge lot of planting you did at that place. Gourds, veggies, countless things.

I remember cooking for everybody that came to that house that one weekend. For the most part, everybody was wowed by the food. But you thought the chicken too salty.

I remember Leah, Allegra and I camping in your front yard at one event because all the other rooms were booked. And Allegra got sick just outside her tent.

I remember buying your last motorcycle. And your room mate's (for parts), since they were only a year apart.

I remember you moving out of the pool place and into the trailer where you spent your final days.

I remember going shooting with you and Leah those two times. That was a lot of fun.

I remember the times you helped with SoundFit. I remember all the discussion about how to build kiosks. How we built prototype 3 in your living room out of foamcore, and you were impressed with my singlemindedness. I remember how you lent me so many tools, like the table saw, vise grips, metal shears… I remember how you were an awesome advisor to call whenever I got stuck.

I remember talking with you about permaculture, and what it would maybe be like to eventually buy some land and do that.

I remember the weekend days where we'd both put on Skype and just kind of be together while we did our various things around our respective houses.

I remember you showing us the glass artist's studio that was trying to fall into the creek in Harmony, on highway 1.

I remember building the sous vide with you, and how amazed you were at the quality that resulted.

I remember helping you build the LED light for the living room that only worked for a month. I remember feeling glad that I could help you with a project.

I remember sharing Diede with you as a new friend. And because of who she is, she could connect with you in a touch was without it being a sexual way. And it was like watching rain on the desert, and the very beginnings of the desert floor blooming. Her snuggles began a healing process for you. It was awesome to watch.

I remember sharing with you the sound I found on YouTube of the sounds of the #5 Crossbar Switching Center. So dear to me from my childhood.

I remember you calling to tell me you'd been arrested. I remember you told me that you'd understand completely if I wanted to distance myself from you because of that. I asked you who the fuck you thought you were talking to. No, I wasn't going to distance myself from you in a time of need. I remember you asked me to come help you hold a garage sale to raise some money. I remember you telling me you were guilty, and that you'd be going to prison. I remember you wanted to gift me a huge number of your tools, because you had no place to store them for years. I remember coming down and packing the car so thoroughly that I was worried about whether it would make it home. I remember you telling me that you thought prison was going to be intolerable for you. That you were not aggressive enough to do anything but be somebody else's property. I remember the drive home slightly tensed the whole way because of the load on the car. I remember calling you to tell you we'd be going to Big Sur and did you wanna come for the day? You said sure, if you were free at that point. I remember waiting to hear about news from your arraignment. I remember running across about 3 different things on the web that I just had to share with you, once I knew you had email again. I remember finally hearing from Bear, tonight, that you'd taken your own life.

I remember not being sure I'd heard him right at first.

I remember calling Dawn and Allegra to tell them. I remember the more I spoke about it, the more incoherent I became. So I decided to write this. I remember realizing that you'd made it clear this was what you were thinking, I had just not put the pieces together.

You were my longest friend, you were my brother, and I ache with missing you already. I hope you've found a happier place.


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Akien MacIain

August 2017

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