Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

It has been precisely a week since I attended the funeral of my friend Becca Rosenthal. Eight days since a last-minute road trip that lasted 17 hours was taken so D.J. and I could say goodbye. Eleven days since I learned about Becca's death, leaving me feeling like someone has sucker punched me. I'm not going to lie.  Over this week I've felt like I can't breathe. I can't get enough air to fill my lungs.  I am not OK with this.

I was lucky enough to sit next to Becca at work for about two years. We were both lucky enough to have jobs where it was acceptable to obsess about music all day long. We were unlucky in often having to create ways to fake passion for a good deal of music we didn't believe in because that was our job at the time.

Before I met Becca I was so angry with her by no fault of her own. I remember my boss asking me to invite her in for an interview for an open position as a tour publicist. He told me of her impressive background. Her ongoing work with Amanda Palmer, and her work on the True Colors Tour with Cyndi Lauper was amazing. I remember carefully choosing my words. I knew we needed someone with her talent.

After proofreading the email I hit send. I immediately got an undeliverable message. A bounceback! How dare this happen after I spend time planning exactly what to say. I spent about five minutes thinking she was made up because how could a person with this much experience and so young really exist. About 10 minutes later I realized it was my mistake as I didn't spell the 'artificially' in her email correct. After the email successfully went through I silently vowed to be angry with this Becca Rosenthal person.

My anger quickly subsided.

We quickly grew into this little, at times inseparable, unit of the publicity department. One that had a language I'm pretty sure no one else could decipher. I still forward D.J. some of our old emails and have to explain who or what was in the conversation.

Here's an example of us discussing Metric, apparently before they really utilized Twitter:

We had nicknames, secret code names for pretty much everyone around us. We had our inanimate friends brought to life in our fantasies. We had ISBF  my industrial sized baby fan. We'd feed paper into ISBF and talk about how we'd record it and publicize it to be a huge hit. We had trolle  a little troll with pink hair one of our co-workers had discarded. We'd throw trolle against the wall every time something didn't go our way. Like when an editor cut one of our artists, we lost a client or we sent out a press release with a typo. Then we'd go outside and hang out in one of the weird little stoops, our little grottos. Here's Becca taking shelter from the rain in one:

Pretty much every Friday we'd diligently work on our weekly reports to our clients and answer any outstanding questions. Then we'd walk to fetch a bottle of CDR (Côtes du Rhône) for a ritual I'm sure aggravated everyone else around us  Fleetwood Mac Power Hour. We'd finish our work early and listen to this out loud and forget all of our troubles. Forget we had these jobs we were supposed to love but at the same time dreaded.

I eventually quit that job after meeting D.J. and he made me realize the music industry was tanking and we might have better luck in Washington D.C. Becca left less than a year later. We still emailed at times, but it wasn't the same as having her sit right behind me.

What I'll miss most about Becca is her spirit. She inspired me to no end. She helped me realize I should continue helping artists. Instead of dealing with insane musicians I now help those in the DIY community succeed and help spread the message of buying handmade. When I told Becca I was scared I had forgotten to be a publicist, but in this case pitch something I really loved, she emailed me back in what I imagined to be in a Russian accent the words "is like riding bike."

I never got a chance to have her input on what pair of Frye boots to finally purchase. I never asked her if it's OK to wear Swedish Hasbeens to my wedding. And now she will not attend my wedding although Becca was the person who knew me the best in that tiny office when D.J. and I met for the very first time.

D.J. confided to me that when he started working with us he had a crush on Becca for about 24 hours. This was before D.J. and I started dating. While we were in Boston last week I told D.J. that his crush was perfectly OK. Everyone had a crush on Becca.