I think we all terribly fear that as the years go by, we will forget our best memories of Carly, as though all these moments were a handful of sand spilling through our fingers. But if we grip hard enough, if we squeeze some precious grains tight to our palms, our hands will left with an impression deep and unchangeable.
I wanted to take time to write these things down so that I wouldn’t stumble trying to relate them in person.
I remember overhearing once Carly talking about getting into a scuffle with someone at a bar. I laughed and thought, ok, I need to pay tribute to this somehow. For weeks before Festivus, our company holiday event, we planned Carly’s gift in secret. The idea was to capture her attitude in cloth. I wanted to make her a biker jacket celebrating both Carly’s lawlessness as well as the tight bond among the analyst team. With help from Timna and Adam, I coined the name of the gang -- Timna’s Devils -- a goofy and tough name. I got an old denim jacket from my girlfriend, drew a bunch of stuff on various materials, and got Timna to cut and iron everything together. I couldn’t figure out how to put in a reference to the Garden State, but I figured it would be fine without it. When I first saw the completed jacket, I was beyond thrilled. It was perfect.
At Festivus, I couldn’t wait to give Carly the jacket. Eventually, she unwrapped it. People were wowed by it, even though maybe not as many people got the reference as I’d hoped. They went nuts when I lit up the reflective lettering with a flashlight. Carly liked it, which was all I could hope for. This jacket might have started out as a joke, but I absolutely stand behind what it says about Carly’s strength and spirit.
Cats and Babies
I’m a huge cat person and was glad to find out Carly liked cats, too. Every once in a while, I’d find a particularly amusing or cute cat picture and send it to Carly. We did eventually start an email thread with other cat lovers at work in which I would send regular “kitteh” updates. Sometimes, if there was something that I thought was particularly awesome, I’d just text it to her. At our Halloween party, Timna and another coworker put their babies on our big orange pumpkin beanbag. And I swear the two infants were talking to each other. I knew Carly would love that, so I sent her a shot of the baby chat. Carly was always the first and last to play with children that folks brought into work.
She was one of only a few coworkers who got to see my cat Callie, whom she liked right away. Callie was very very timid but let Carly pet her a lot. This picture is from when we went to the animal shelter to check out their cats. She was helping me cheer up from losing Callie:
My proudest feature at work
One day, Carly noted to me how slow the system was processing videos being added by the analysts. Talking to her for a few minutes, I realized how much of a drag this was to the team. I roped another programmer into helping me develop a speedup for the problem. Several weeks later, we put that speedup into production, leading to less frustration and better productivity for the analyst team.
The human connection that people like Carly bring to an otherwise average office makes all the difference. Her passion for the job and for helping the team was inspiring. In my years working here, this feature is the one that gives me the most pride and satisfaction.
Cars and Caring
I talked about cars with Carly a few times. She told me how her brother had an old Willys jeep. She also wanted to relearn how to drive stick. Once, I gave her a ride to our Super Bowl work event, and we double parked so I could pick up the wings. I said, just move the car if someone comes up behind us. I ran back soon as I could, and sure enough a car was waiting. Unfortunately, she was still too scared to drive my manual rustbucket for me. She promised I could help out by being a driver when she was helping her roommates move out, which was a selfless act of aid on her part. I rarely see someone completely throw themselves into doing what is right like Carly would. She helped me believe in the ideal of putting others before self. On the night of that big moving project, I only got to drive her car 20 feet into another parking spot, but I helped!
- Whenever you walked up to Carly’s desk, she would tip her chin up at you with a cheerful smile on her face. That is probably the defining Carlyism for me.
- She had a great head of hair:
- The silliest thing I remember is when Carly and Allison were trying to tandem hula hoop while Carly was in roller blades. They never got it to work. I’m just glad that people at work can become good friends.
- A lot of us went to this bar/dinner one night. Carly started singing along to “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” I was floored that she was so into country.
“Those who have gone before us cannot steady the unrest of those to follow.”
Forgive for me ending with such a trite quote. The amount of pain we suffer is a measure of Carly’s greatness. I will miss her. How lucky we were to have her in our lives!