Brian Hendler messaged me last year – he liked something I had written. I liked a photo he had taken.
“Let’s meet for scotch,” he said.
“Sure!” I replied.
“No, I’m staying home.”
He pinged me again a few weeks later, but I was busy – kids, maybe. Or work. Or just… who knows.
We never met. I never got to hear what brought him to Israel and how he found a way to tell a story through the camera. I can’t tell you if he likes his scotch smooth or smoky, or if he smokes (or what he smokes), or if he’s as interesting as he seems online – or if like most of us who work behind screens and lenses, if he’s as awkward as I am.
I missed that chance. I blew it.
And now he’s dead. 63 and hit the ground, and that’s it. It’s over.
And what’s left is this echo: Our time here is so damn short.
Sometimes we get a longer time to be in our bodes – we have the luxury of wrinkles and decay. Other times, we don’t. it’s over in a blink, that last second lasts forever – and what do we regret?
The things we DIDN’T do.
The places we DIDN’T see.
The friendships we DIDN’T cultivate.
(The scotch we DIDN’T drink)
I don’t know much but I do know that I will never say “wow, I’m glad I stayed home and organised my sock drawer.”
I know I will never say “Yes, that Buzzfeed Quiz I took was time well spent.”
I know I will never say “I’m glad I watched Criminal Minds instead of having scotch with a new friend.”
And what is there anyway if not the people that we meet – what is there anyway if not sweeping views we see when we stand on the edge – what is there anyway if not the moments that lead us out of our comfort zone where we stand trembling and naked in white light.
There are roads, long and winding roads that lead far away from our couches and our screens — roads over mountains and through fields to a diamond sea, or a vast and endless desert. There are roads that lead to ideas and ways of seeing things. And there are roads that to people – the ones we already know and the ones we need to know.
But I stayed home that day.
So, today, I’ll go out.
And I’ll drink a scotch to no regrets.