Saturday, June 28, 2008

For Konrad

I haven't posted in a while, for which I apologize to any loyal readers. Between Graduation, beginning to study for the Bar, and trying to get in better shape, I haven't had a lot of down time. And to be honest, when I did have down time (or made down time because I had quit studying), I felt guilty to be blogging when I should be doing something else. So I watched design shows on HGTV instead.

But recently, I received some bad news about a good friend. On Wednesday, I learned that Konrad Whitt, with whom I attended the University of Tennessee and dated for a short time, died in a hit and run accident in St. Louis, MO, where he had just finished grad school. It was very sudden, and very tragic, and has been very painful for me. Konrad and I still kept in touch, and the last time I spoke to him I mentioned that we were moving to Chicago in a few months, and since St. Louis wasn't that far away, I hoped we could get together some time.

This post is about Konrad, and my memories of him.

Konrad was an RA in Hess Hall, the building I lived in as a freshman at UT. I became a DA in the building, and we would hang out behind the front desk, cutting up and answering the phones. Konrad was endlessly loyal to his friends, even the new ones, like me. The fall of my freshman year, a friend of mine visited me from out of town. Since I lived on a floor with limited visitation, Konrad put him up in an empty room on his floor for the weekend. I didn't even have to ask.

Konrad had one of the most expressive faces I've ever seen on a man. He could tell an entire story with just his eyebrows, with the occasional help of the cock of his head. He was endlessly witty. He also had sharp knees and elbows, which he was not afraid to use in pickup basketball games or in co-opting your place in line. He used to brandish them playfully, as if they were weapons. Trust me, they were.

He drove a red Saturn which he joked was indestructible, thanks to its "high-tech" plexiglass frame. He gave great back massages. He liked the Steve Miller Band and old Tom Petty classics. He once refused to write a major paper for a Psychology class because the Professor had done something to anger him. I'm not sure which one eventually caved, but I know he graduated.

Konrad and I dated in the spring and summer of my freshman year, and when he broke it off at the end of the summer, I was crushed. Thankfully, we bounced right back as friends, and I ultimately knew it was the right decision. Two years later, Konrad and I were joking around one night on IM (he had graduated and moved to Alabama by this time). As I was telling him I needed to go because I had a date, he volunteered that he wouldn't mind picking me up for a date sometime. When I reminded him that he had already done that, he said yes, but that he had been stupid about it the first time, and had learned a lesson. I told him that if things with this Patrick guy didn't work out, he was welcome to move back to Tennessee and have another shot.

Before I wrap this up, one memory of Konrad sticks out particularly in my mind. My sophomore year, when I was an RA in a different building and Konrad had moved off-campus, I was over at his apartment one evening when I was told that a resident of my building had just rather publicly committed suicide in the courtyard. I remember Konrad calmly driving me back to campus, dropping me off into the chaos of flashing lights and terrified residents, and firmly asking if there was anything I needed before he left. At the time, I thought he was being somewhat cold, but I later realized that by his being calm and matter-of-fact, I became calm and matter-of-fact, and was able to organize the madness without giving in to it myself. It was just what I needed at the time, which was his style.

Rest in peace, Konrad, "Gordo." You were a good friend to me and many others. We will miss you.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful post girlie. Again, so sorry to hear about this. I didn't think it quite right to mention it on vacation, but I know you know I'm here if you need to talk about it any more.

AMLOCOPO said...

I know that you do not know me but my name is Amanda. I am Konrad's cousin. It has been awhile since I googled his name since the thought of it makes me cry but I did that today and found your blog. I have decided to make a website for Konrad. I want to collect things from his life down there since all I have is my side of things and was wondering if there was anything that you might want to contribute. I understand that everyone is coping and that you may not want to dive into something like this but feel free to email me if and when you feel comfortable.

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