Christopher Meyer died in a bike accident early yesterday morning. It may have been the kind of thing better described as a car accident, a car's accident, which killed the guy who was riding the bike. It's being described by the police as a possible hit-and-run. Whatever the facts, the crime is that Christopher's no longer here.
It feels transgressive to write about him like this because we weren't close friends in the sense of hanging out. We were co-workers at a record store in Brooklyn that had a small staff, which imparts its own unique and rapid sort of intimacy. Oh, this is what makes you jump out of bed? Me too, and also this. Oh, this is what enrages you? Me too! Oh, this is the personal stuff that you need to print out at the store, the school-life-strive that you do away from here? Christopher was someone you felt like you'd known for years after 10 minutes in a room with him. He had immediate expression; he was knowable. That's increasingly rare and a plainly beautiful way for a person to be.
Chris smiled easily and frequently. He was mostly smiling and it was a mischievous smile that made you want to be a part of whatever might be cooking up in his head. I think it was really just that he was excited to be here, pretty much wherever he happened to be. And he made it fun to be in that space with him — a joke, a snide comment, the way he bounced around the store.... He sometimes looked like a Mad Max character capable of a scrap maybe, but much more at home as the biker gang's grinning mascot. Wiry build, blackened hair, charismatic nasal rasp and some great tattoos, including the Drag City logo. He rated as a superfan and his passions sprawled from the high-quality wing of indie-rock to classic and extreme metal. He was the one who made sure we had old Maiden and Venom in stock and customers were glad for it. He was a snob with vast loves that many people would describe as guilty pleasures. Not him. In Christopher's fandom, all of it was level, high low and in-between.
After the store where we worked closed up this past spring, he landed at a cool record shop in Greenpoint while I found my way to one in the East Village. Late in the summer he dropped in to visit, and we spent long minutes perusing the horror films in stock. His passion, usually a visceral, energetic thing, went quiet and reverent as he pulled titles from the racks. "Ohhh, you guys have this," he said dreamily. He vowed to be back next time he got paid. The last time I saw him was fleeting: about a month ago, in Greenpoint, sunny afternoon, me walking with friends, he walking his bike the other way on Franklin. We caught each other just as we passed, that sudden flash. "Hey! How ya doin'? Yeah I'm — okay, see you soon." Big smiles. His high-spirited vibe needed only a moment to work magic and it always rose up to meet you.
I'm thinking about his family, I'm thinking about Jimmy. Everyone who knew him is surely luckier for it.