I opened Facebook today and discovered a friend, David Bunnett, had died. I knew David slightly when we were young – part of the group of theater-and-artist folks who hung around the Pt. Reyes Dance Palace in West Marin, California.
But I’d never really talked to David until last June when he interviewed me for a feature in the West Marin Citizen paper. Like my favorite interviews, it shifted from questions about me, to conversation in general, and, with David, to insights and metaphor that were so engaging and unexpected that I blurted out: “Hey, why weren’t we friends back then? Why weren’t we talking all the time … like this?“
And we agreed to talk again.
Which we won’t.
I wondered how we could have missed each other. How could I have been around someone who seemed to see the world so much the way I do – the same lateral shifts to understand one thing with its metaphor, to see its illustration suddenly, graphically, and describe it as if you were miming with words. How could I have missed the long conversations I had time for back then with someone I now found so much pleasure talking to?
I know it’s irrelevant, but I went searching to find out how he died. I shouldn’t be curious … but I am. I should be above that … but I’m not.
I stumbled around and ended up on the Pt. Reyes Light, a paper I used to work at, and found myself on the police blotter, which I used to read weekly, amazed at how the juxtaposition of everyday events can read like comedy or poetry.
And this one was a poem. The petty conflicts, the mysterious disappearances and appearances, seemed like our youth. The barking of a dog sounding like goodbye. And somewhere in the middle, a friendship that can no longer be revived.
From the Pt. Reyes Light Sheriff’s Calls
Sunday, October 13
MUIR WOODS: At 8:03 a.m. a resident reported that a neighbor was again parked in the driveway.
BOLINAS: At 8:54 a.m. a man reported that his 21-year-old daughter had not returned from Smiley’s last night.
BOLINAS: At 9:12 a.m. someone called from Smiley’s to report that a woman from Canada who has been deported in the past was once again at the bar, although she was “not supposed to be in Bolinas.”
BOLINAS: At 11:39 a.m. the same woman was seen in a white pickup on Wharf.
LAGUNITAS: At 1:08 p.m. someone saw a smoldering log.
WOODACRE: At 2:14 p.m. a 60-year-old woman fell, hitting her head.
INVERNESS PARK: At 3:41 p.m. a man had a heart attack while clearing brush on his property, and died after attempts to save his life.
STINSON BEACH: At 4:02 p.m. a box truck hit a power pole.
SAN GERONIMO: At 8:05 p.m. a dog was barking.
David … I deeply miss that next conversation we’ll never have.