Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

27 August 2011

Thanksgiving in August: Rick

I met Rick in 2006 when we started as part of the same cohort in graduate school. Rick was the lone technical director in our cohort, and it was partially for this reason, I think, that we became such good friends. I am not sure if I said before what a great joy it was having a cohort in graduate school that was so close across all of our disciplines. All of us were close and remain close: lighting and costumes and scene design and management and theatre studies and directing and technical direction. This is my sixth year at this school and I have never seen a group as close as we were. Fun story about meeting Rick: Rick is, of course, just a nickname, but the first day of orientation, they passed around nametags for us all to wear. Rick had already shaken my hand and introduced himself, but when I got the nametags, I passed him his (which said Enrico) and he gave me this funny look because I clearly should not have known his name. I did, though, because, as I pointed out earlier, I had been stalking everyone before I got to school.

Our very first week of grad school, Rick invited a bunch of us over to his house for dinner and he made homemade pasta for me and Alison and Ryan. It was lovely and we met his dog and Rick and I bonded over jazz. He was playing the Miles Davis score for Elevator to the Gallows and I either recognized it or had mentioned having seen the film; I can't remember which. Rick has all kinds of things like this up his sleeve at all times: he knows films and books and reads articles like a madman, devouring culture like few people I know – and he has an opinion on all of it.

This is one of the chief ways Rick and I communicate now that he lives far away in New Jersey: he constantly shares articles with me about, say, Michael Cimino, or Werner Herzog, or – alternatively – Judith Butler. It is a delight to have someone like him in my life who is constantly reminding me to pay more attention to the world I'm in and stop being so rarefied and desk-bound.

One of my best memories of me and Rick is Thanksgiving 2007. A bunch of us grad students got together and ate until we were stuffed and we were all also fairly drunk. Rick and I, however, decided we were going to go to the movies and then left the party to go to see the late show of No Country for Old Men. When the movie was over Rick just sat there and he said "If this was playing again tonight I would just sit here and watch it again." Actually, I think we went another time to see No Country. Rick and I have been to a ton of movies together, and we also always fight about them. One of the true delights of knowing someone like Rick who sees a lot of movies is that even when he is wrong about a movie (how dare he dislike Me and You and Everyone We Know, for example! – I believe the direct quote was "twee indie rubbish") I can respect his opinion. Often I enjoy our fights about movies more than our agreements about them.

Rick is also in the frequent habit of "purging" facebook friends, a practice that I both recommend and which scares me. I also am never really scared that Rick is going to purge me. For this, I am grateful. So, this one goes out to my buddy Rick. He is not with the lord, but he is from the lord.