Yesterday afternoon, November 30, 2001, at about 6:00 PM (Arizona time), I was walking through the Phoenix Airport ("Sky Harbor"). I'd just checked in for my flight back to San Jose, and decided to take a quick peek into the gift shop. Above the register a TV was tuned to CNN and I heard that George Harrison was dead.
Although we've known for several months that this was coming, it still shook me, the world tilting a bit of kilter, gravity failing for a moment, and I had to grab onto a shelf of knick-knacks to steady myself while I tried to breath. Slowly, I made my way back to my gate and waited to board my flight.
First thoughts are odd; mine was of the joke in Shallow Hal about a Beatles reunion (with Eric Clapton filling in for John) and how this eliminated the possibility of such a fantasy coming true. Through the flights home (yes, flights, part one to San Diego, part two to San Jose) I buried myself in my book and tried not to think about this loss.
Today I'll begin mourning the loss of George, and hope to learn something from his life and his personal strength as the spiritual center of the greatest cultural phenomenon of the 20th century.