I first met Alex after my wife had been to a number of his yoga classes. She would come home telling me I should take one of his classes. I would ask her who is this Alex guy? She answered “he’s got an afro and a beard and rides his bike everywhere; you’ve probably seen him around town, maybe at the co-op… I think you guys would really get along.” A few months later I finally met Alex and we quickly hit it off. We both had the uncanny ability to converse on a topic for way to long and to find humor in even the worst of jokes.
In becoming friends with Alex it took me a while to realize his athletic accomplishments. He never bragged or even tried to share his accolades. It was only with some prodding or usually from someone else that you might actually hear about his feats. His humility was one of his many endearing qualities.
My friendship with Alex was described by others as a “bromance.” I know there are a number of Alex’s friends who can relate to this experience. However, if you are uncertain about whether you had a bromance with Alex, here are a few signs that may help you decide. First, you would get gifts, like crystals or balsa planes or marbles or two dollar bills. Second, you would receive calls or texts or emails every week or every day and sometimes multiple times a day. Third, when you mentioned something he found interesting or adventurous he would take that idea and run with it. One time I mentioned a place that I thought we could go fishing. The next day I got an email with four different studies complete with relevant page citations discussing the possible fishing spot. Alex always put in the time and effort to ensure there would be another adventure or shared memory.
Alex had a unique way of expressing his humorous side that I will certainly miss. He would say and write some of the funniest things. I would like to share one of these “Alexisms” with you.
- One time I had emailed Alex a picture of a kayak I thought would make me faster at the Siskiyou Challenge. He encouragingly replied “Word to that! Hot knife through butter, no, more like a chainsaw with a 36″ bar heated by a solar flare slicing through ghee…”
Alex engaged you and really got to know you. He became interested in your interests. And his pursuits and way of life became part of yours. As you may know, Alex was a big hugger. Every time I saw Alex or we parted ways he always gave a heartfelt hug. I had never been a big hugger and avoided hugging people when it seemed unnecessary. But I never avoided hugging Alex. I treated him differently. Maybe I didn’t want to disappoint him or maybe his desire to hug was just so genuine I wanted to honor that. Anyhow, I kept hugging Alex at every greeting and farewell and slowly but surely he single-handedly made hugging hello and goodbye seem like a good idea. I share this as an example of how Alex’s genuine friendship shaped who you are in seemingly small yet meaningful ways.
While Alex pushed himself when biking or running, those efforts paled in comparison to the heights he achieved as a person and friend. Alex made us feel special and made us laugh. He was truly a good friend to us all and will be dearly missed.