Back in the wild and wolly days of the World Wide Web, I hung around on a newsgroup called alt.society.generation-x, where I made a number of online friends, some of whom became real world friends, with whom I kept in contact, sporadically, over the years. One of those was Douglas Lathrop, a fellow writer who very recently sold a novel, not his first written (very few “first” novels are first novels), but the first to be picked up by a publisher.
Not too long ago Doug fell and ended up in the hospital, and in part because of other long-term factors relating to his health, he didn’t recover. He passed away today.
And I’m kicking myself because a couple of weeks ago I was in San Diego, during Comic-Con, and as I was crossing the street, he was crossing the street, too, going the other way. And we were in the middle of a cross walk and there were probably a couple hundred other people and we moved past each other too quickly, and I thought to myself, huh, I’ll have to tell Doug I saw him in the cross walk, and then I walked off to whatever it was I was doing next, which I can’t remember now.
I wish I would have taken that moment in the cross walk to say hello. It was the last time I’ll see my friend in this world. I should have said hello. I didn’t. I’m going to regret that forever now.
Take the time, people. Let your friends know you see them and are glad to see them, even if you’re just passing by in a cross walk. It’s important.