Sunday, June 29, 2014

Goodbye David Carr

I don’t remember meeting Dave Carr- I just know that in the second semester of my senior year at college he was there. And, he was my boyfriend. David was tall and skinny and blond. He always had these chipped painted fingernails. He listened to music I didn’t understand and chronically smoked cigarettes, he drank Gin and to me, he was Super. Fucking. Sexy. He was, in hindsight the beginning of a long journey I would take dating alcoholics and drug addicts. But at the time, I was so naive, I thought when he fell asleep in the middle of dinner it was because he was just tired, I had no idea what a junkie was. I thought the acne was just bad luck.

We dated about 6 months, which was a long time for me in those days. He was there for my graduation ho-rah… the party, the packing, and the goodbye. He and I had a tender little romance, nothing earth shattering, and nothing that would last… in fact my inevitable leaving made it even seem more important then it might have actually been. On Thursday nights when we had ‘soul night’ at Charlie Flynn’s with what felt like everyone I ever knew in college, he always saved one slow dance for me. Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”

In the goodbye love note he gave to me he wrote, “Our history is an accumulation of small moments. Building toward a 5 day explosion and the hope that you’ll stay”
I didn’t stay. I left college, and Boston, and Dave.

I went to Colorado after graduation for the summer and he actually came and visited me. We tried each other on outside of college, but it was there, in the mountains that we realized we would be destined to be friends and not lovers.

Those early years the memories are like a slide show- that fucking sunburn he got that one afternoon when he fell asleep on the deck, to this day I’ve never seen one worse. The hot air balloon ride (my only one ever) over the Rocky Mountains at sunrise. Gallivanting down the street in Boston howling at the moon. Day drinking in Charlie Flynn’s bar weeks after my 21st birthday. The chipped paint on his fingernails- I always thought that was so punk, so hot… Making out in the back of a party, feeling like I was a good girl parting on the wrong side of the tracks.

In those days we wrote letters. It was before cellphones and email and texting and Facebook. We kept in touch by hand, and mail. He sent me letters on the back of bar napkins and negative reports. At least once in every letter he would apologize for his handwriting and that he felt he didn’t know what to say…  often he would talk about trying on sobriety for size.

After college, when I still fancied myself a film director- before the slow numb hum of mediocrity had set in- I set out to make a short film. Chick Pee Productions was born, and in looking thru the photos just now I’m shocked by how many of my friends from my whole life long turned out to help get it made. I knew about acting and directing and a little about design- but the whole camera and lighting part of filmmaking was another language to me and I knew, if I was gonna even pretend to make a movie, I needed Dave Carr. He had been a camera hot shot in college, and I knew no way I could do it without him. I asked him to come to LA, and he came! He told me he needed Josh Dreyfus, to which I replied, “ok, lets get Josh”. We did. And that’s how Josh and Dave moved in with me and my cat- into my one bedroom apt. 

I can’t remember how long they were there or how we managed to fit in my tiny one bedroom apartment- I know they stayed at least a couple of months. Maybe even six.

What I do remember is his drinking. He and a couple of friends came to visit me on set one day when I was doing a TV commercial- it was about 11am, and when I took a sip of his sprite it was full of SUPER. STRONG. VODKA. About once a week I would find vodka bottles hidden in my apartment. I wouldn’t look- but in a tiny apt I would just, find them… In my towels, in the cushions of my couch, under my kitchen sink. I was so confused. It was so weird. Why didn’t he just leave the bottles on the counter? All the drinkers I had known did it in public, even sloppily so, Dave was the first secret drinker I knew.

We shot that short film, and it was an especially fine piece of shit- however, I will say this, it LOOKED fucking terrific. In the end the script sucked and I learned the hard way that sometimes, you CAN’T fix it in post.

Dave and I kept in contact for the next 20 years. I saw him when I went to Seattle, and he and I wrote and later emailed. He struggled with sobriety, but last I spoke to him, he was sober, working at a sober living place and really making a go of it. He always emailed me when he moved, or had a big life change. But in the end, I hadn’t heard from him in a couple years, and the last time I SAW him was in Dec, 2006.

Couple of days ago Josh texted me that he had died. He had heard thru Facebook. Which, you know- fucking sucks. Cuz like, can you even trust Facebook??

David told me I should always have his parents phone number, you know, just in case. I called them, and despite wanting to, I left a message. A day or two passed, I didn’t call everyone because, I didn’t know what happened, and I wasn’t even sure if it was true.

It is.

I still haven’t really heard what happened. Heart Failure due to booze? Ooof. That’s a motherfucker. In the end maybe it doesn’t matter how, only that he died.

 I loved him, and I’m sad he’s gone. For a time I loved him most of all. And, even though I’ve had a parent die, and suffered like, real grief, this one hurts too. And as I look back thru photos, I realize that everyone dies. And sooner or later, the longer we last, the fewer and fewer people are alive in our old photos. And that just fucking sucks.

My history with David was an accumulation of small moments. Building toward a sad quiet implosion and the hope that he could have stayed.

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