I’ve tried a couple of time to give a recap of what has happened over the past several months since the fire but every attempt came out bad. Since something else has happened that I want to write about I’ll give a quick synopsis: month in hotel, dog anxiety, found nice place, still settling in, dog happy, we’re good.
Anyway, the other night I got a text from my mom that read “Do you hear from Hans? It has been quite a while since I have and the phone number is no longer valid.” Which was odd, because I had just that day realized I needed to call him on the weekend. It had been eight months since we talked and I wanted to catch up – he was my inspiration to get into programming back in the day and I was getting back to it. Four minutes of research later I found the obituary. He had passed away in April, eight months earlier and just a short time after our last conversation. Now eight months was longer than we usually went between calls but not by a lot. Thirty four years of friendship has that kind of time dilating effect.
To say that Hans had been a big influence on my life would be an understatement. I met him in Albuquerque as a wannabe punk 12 year old geek in the making. I had started playing Dungeons and Dragons and he ran a game. I know my parents were concerned at first, as he was 19, but things were on the up and up and he eventually became a family friend – even coming over for many Thanksgivings because he had no family in town. I learned my first pieces of programming from him – something which turned into my first career.
But the way he inspired me was just by being authentically himself. When I met him in 1982 he had recently moved to Albuquerque from Idaho. Why did he make the move? Because he lived there for a few years as a kid and knew that was the place for him. And he made the move by loading his backpack and saddlebags, and riding his 10-speed bicycle 1300 miles. During the thirty four years I knew him he mainly spent his free time doing one of three things: photography/videography, playing D&D, and teaching computer skills. He could have “done something” with his life but he liked tutoring kids at community centers, especially in poorer neighborhoods, so they could “do something”. When we talked I’d hear the typical problem roommate stories, but more often it was how great the classes were going and how I should start programming again.
Hans did not march to the beat of his own drummer. He marched to a freeware drum machine app that he downloaded from somewhere, then played around with until it sounded good. I will miss you, my friend. Gods keep you.