Dan Timis 1954-2009

When Ulysses ventured out he had no news of home, which might have proved a distraction.  The times are not like that any more.  Thus, after returning in the early morning hours from the restaurant “1884” in a bodega which burned down two months ago (but the restaurant was saved, giving a surreal entry experience in the parking lot in the middle of the night) we could get email from Jarrell saying that Dan Timis, our friend of nearly twenty years, had died.

This changes the experience of the trip.  Now I look at the road side, which has changed from desert to pasture, and think of all the dead people I know.  I think of the 90,000 people who died yesterday that I don’t know.  I wonder why we care.  The penguins don’t care.  A mother penguin defends her chick, or her egg, for  only as long as the battle is in doubt.  If a skua definitively seizes the penguin chick and the mother can’t get it back alive, the mother loses interest.  The chick can be pecked apart and eaten alive, screaming, and the rest of the colony takes no notice.  Dan Timis’s mother wont be feeling so Buddhist just now.  I think we humans have more to learn from the experience of each other than the penguins do, and there is an advantage to our not letting go.  It really hurts that I will never hear his voice again (unless he left a message on our home voice mail in January).  You’d have to be pretty into penguins to not mind hearing the voice of one.