Tuesday, September 30, 2008

from Jamie

Truth and Method

I first met Robert the fall of 2004. I had just moved to the city and
began working at Christopher's books, the little bookshop a block away
from his house. Christopher's books is the epitome of a neighborhood
bookstore: a cozy, little space with a variety of books tailored to
the tastes and needs of the local clientele. My first, rather
idealistic, maneuver as a fresh, young bookseller was to beef up the
store's modest philosophy section with a few of my favorite fat,
esoteric, mostly German, philosophical tomes. My co-workers were
skeptical. In fact, one of my co-workers proclaimed that she'd buy me
a drink if I ever managed to sell our newly acquired copy of Truth And
Method, Hans-Georg Gadamer's extensive critique of philosophical
hermeneutics. Enter Robert. He and I began discussing literature
which lead to discussing different translations of Proust which lead
to discussing textual interpretation which lead to him buying Truth
and Method. Robert won me a free drink. However, two days later he
returned to the store with the book in hand. "We need to talk," he
said as a plopped Truth And Method down on the counter. I was
delighted. What followed were more long, meandering conversations
over coffee, wine, whiskey and always, always food. We learned a lot
from one another by relishing in our differences as well as our
similarities. We attended rodeos and Beckett plays, author lectures
and sports bars. His penchant to experience life with such abiding
curiosity and wonder allowed for so many meaningful conversations and
incredible friendships. He genuinely cared because he was genuinely
interested. I once gave him a book in which I had inscribed the Rilke
quote: "Resolve to always be beginning--to be a beginner." That was
the beauty of Robert as I knew him. Always curious, always
interested, always ready to learn something new. I am eternally
grateful that one day he felt like learning something new about
philosophy. I will miss him so.

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