Over the years, I have come to realize that I like weird people. I like the folks who fall outside the bell curve of "normality". Don't know why, all I know is that freaks never freaked me out. I always kinda enjoyed their weirdness. Some folks are weird just for the sake of being weird, and in my mind, they are just poseurs and are as ignorable as the 68% of the population that fits neatly inside the mouth of the bell. But other folks just genuinely look at life differently, and that makes them fun, interesting, intriguing. As the bumper sticker says, "why be normal?"
Alex is one of those people. I've known Alex for several years - we work in the same company and in fact I actually interviewed him when we were hiring. I've always liked him - he's really different. He is very ethnic looking - in actuality I think he is part cuban, part japanese, part I-dunno-what, but he could pass as any number of ethnicities or nationalities. He was raised in Europe, was recruited by the CIA right out of high school and quit his high-paying job as a QA manager for a big Fortune 500 company to become an entry-level programmer. Did I mention he is brilliant, gentle and interesting?
We had a drink together tonight, solved the problems of the world together, and I thought to myself, "why are we not better friends?" I honestly don't know the answer to that question. But I am determined to change that. Alex is an extraordinary man - he challenges my thinking in some ways, and agrees with me in others, but he is most of all his own person.
So tonight I give thanks for a new old friend. To Alex, who dares to be simply who he is. Next time, the drinks are on me.