I left work at noon today to attend Sasha's wake in Boston at 2 pm. The
weather has been absolutely rotten since he died on monday, and there
were lightning storms and torrential rains all the way down. It seemed
as though the whole world was mourning its loss. I had thought that
Sasha had tried to call me monday, because there had been some 'hangup'
type messages on my voicemail, so i was feeling a bit guilty about not
being there for the phone, but it turns out it was just the census
weenie trying to find out why I put 'human' down for my race on the
census form....no kidding.
Thanks to the directions I got from the mapping software on the netscape
website, I arrived right on time. People were filing in. I saw Vanessa
Hughes as we were waiting to register in the guest book. Eugene was
handling everything quite well, it seemed. He has certainly grown up
quite a bit in the last few years. He reminded me of how well the
Windsor princes handled their mothers death in public. I let him know
that Simon Levy and Roderick Carder-Russell couldn't make it, but that
they asked me to give their condolences.
Julia Chislenko got up when everyone had been seated, and had trouble
talking, so she asked anyone who wanted to to come up and speak.
Somewhere around a dozen people took turns talking, each seemed to be
from a different facet of his life, from the extropians and other
transhumanists, from his past life in Russia, from his Circle group and
his dancing freinds, to some of the guys from 100x, and a few of his
past girlfreinds. Steve Witham was there and spoke well of him and our
shared dreams and goals, and what sort of a person he was to Steve.
Kathryn Aegis rode the train for 10 hours to come up from Washington,
and spoke as well about their relationship and projects they had worked
on. I was really happy she came, though we had never met in person, I've
known her longer than I've known Sasha, from the old transhumanim list.
Steve, Kathryn, I, and several other people all went out for dinner
afterward, chatted about Sasha and basically had your typical
extropian/transhumanist type discussion. One guy was a dancing freind of
Sasha's and didn't know much about this side of him, but seemed very
fascinated with many of the ideas.
I wanted to speak at the wake as well, but I was afraid to, because I
was worried that my anger at his death would come through, as I had just
learned of the circumstances of his death from Eugene. GOD DAMN IT.
Why? Things were going so well. When I last saw him at 100x a couple
weeks ago when I went down for an interview, he was walking a few inches
off the carpet, grinning like a kid in the candy shop. "I'm getting paid
to do this?!!!" he exclaimed in joy and still some disbelief in his good
fortune. "This is going to be so great Mike, we can get the projects
we've been talking about done and get them backed properly," he told me.
Sasha was apparently a much more sensitive person than he ever let on
with me. On a few rare occasions he would act discouraged that things
weren't coming together like he had hoped, or was bummed because some
deal had fallen through. He and I once shared the same frustration at
finding someone special, that shared all of his varied interests. How
can you find a Rennaisance woman for a renaissance man like Sasha? They
don't grow on trees.
But things seemed to be going so well. One good thing to come out of
this is that Steve Witham and myself have both decided to sign up with
Alcor. The future will be less bright without Sasha around, but, dammit,
I hope that as many as possible of our freinds in extropy and elsewhere
sign up. This experience reminds me of a talk I had with my 88 year old
grandmother this past year. She was running out of freinds, she
said,"I'm burying everyone I know, I don't know what I'm going to do
with everyone gone." This is the grandmother who golfs 18 holes three
times a week and goes dancing several times a week as well, who thinks
nothing of driving alone from Florida to Nashua, NH by herself in two
days. My other two living grandparents are each two years younger than
she, and they are just sitting around waiting to die.
This is not what life is supposed to be about, dammit. The next wake I
attend for an extropian had better the hell involve a bottle of liquid
nitrogen. I want to say "See you sometime again." rather than "good bye
forever my freind."
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:11:01 MDT