On the subject of Apple Retail, (but really on the subject of a special person) I think the first time I felt real disappointment at work was when we fired Juan Oyarzun.
Surprisingly it wasn’t directed at the management team this time it was at Juan but also in society in general.
When I was a wee teen, they call them Tweens now a days, I don’t know how I would have felt about that label, we were just called, punks, kids, rascals, (where we called rascals, I’m not sure.) I remember seeing Juan at Specs music. He was always in the background and he knew a heck of a lot about classical and concert music, which I was eager to learn a heck of about. Again he was there at the Virgin Mega Store, and then every now and again in the scene.
One day he showed up at our doorsteps at Apple and I totally endorsed him without knowing him just because he was a part of all these great memories and experiences, and even though that was the case, the other managers thought that was good enough and we hired him. I am totally glad we did because Juan’s short time at the store was a great time, I think for him but definitely for the rest of us. We really cared about him and wanted him to succeed.
It was me that agreed to talk to him the first time about a personal problem that was spilling into work. He promised me he’d take care of it. I genuinely believe he did everything he could.
Not long after he was let go, Juan passed away rather suddenly. His health deteriorated from a condition and he was gone. It hit us like a brick and it hit the manager who had to let him go even harder. I’d never seen anyone break down like that.
Disappointment. Because all the complex rules of this society try to force us to live within a certain margin and if we stray outside, there’s no place for us. I often wonder what Juan could be if he were free to do exactly what he wanted to, I often wonder what we all would be. Juan was in information bank and when it came to music, history, society he could go on and on and present so many interesting notions and ideas, so many good questions. He was a teacher and not a retail employee. But he could never be a teacher in the way we think of one.
On the Camino, it didn’t matter if you were wealthy, poor, healthy, sick, mental, sane. None of that mattered. Just some basic agreements of how to behave towards one another and then nothing else mattered. If someone stole from you, and that did happen, you just got over it. You start out with all these prejudices and you finish off with a lot fewer. You begin with all these bad habits and you end up with new good ones that you are proud of. I think a lot about how the Camino could be a great foundation for civilization.
Every year on his birthday, which is today, the 48 some odd people who continue to be his friend on Facebook because they don’t think its weird or creepy being friends with a dead guy, wish him a Happy Birthday. He represents something new that’s emerging. A kind of timelessness and immortality that never existed before; an idea living on, he represents a real and tangible afterlife. He also reminds us that when we’re gone, we are truly gone.