On January 10th, Joanie and I drove up to NYC from her parents’ home in Uniontown. As always occurs on drives like these, conversations bubbled and rose out of playlists, roadside distractions, random chains of thought. The following is an actual conversation that we had early in the morning, before either of us had bothered to check any news or social media outlet:
Me: You know, David Bowie is one of those people whose public persona is so thorough that I can’t really see past it. Like, I can’t envision David Bowie owning a couch.
Joanie: Right? Or even sitting on one. Too normal.
Me: Exactly. Bjork is another one.
Joanie: Oh, man, what if they had a kid!
Me: Holy crap!
Joanie: I bet it would just come out as a swan.
Me: That breathes fire.
Joanie: And time-travels.
Me: Well, obvi.
This was originally going to be a post about odd conversations and the way they trickle into our lives, about the magic of sharing them with a best friend, about the intimacy that they generate, the vulnerability that it takes to air such quirky mental laundry. The quiet joy of having it reciprocated.
Then, after we got home, we saw the news of David Bowie’s passing, and I wondered about sharing this at all.
I won’t lie: I’m not invested enough in his music to claim fandom, although I like that which I’ve heard. I didn’t see Labyrinth until I was an adult. Overall he wasn’t a celebrity with whose work I was intimately involved. Others have written about his death and its effect on them much more eloquently than I could; what do I have to add to the conversation? Maybe I should keep this one to myself.
A world that contains David Bowie is a world in which it’s OK to be weird. To run for the boundaries, to soar past them, and not look back.
A world that doesn’t contain David Bowie—well, it’s a world that misses him. But it’s also a world that contains souls who drew part of their fire from that same well—who skate on the edge of normal, and past it, and bring back stardust from the void to share with the rest of us.
And for that, I am thankful.
May your journeys from here be fascinating, Mr. Bowie. Thanks, from one of the weird kids.