Laying Down on the Job

Laying Down on the Job
The Santa Monica Easy

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Steve Jobs in Santa Monica

The alert bell jangled on October 5, 2011. The sound, I knew, was breaking news delivered to my iPhone via the New York Times app. The screen read, "Steve Jobs, Apple Co-Founder Dead". Like many millions of others, I read about the death of Steve Jobs on an Apple device. I gasped, "No..." and wept. I don't remember ever crying over the death of a CEO before.  I was caught off guard by my reaction.  I knew Steve Jobs was battling cancer but I was shocked, felt a deep sense of loss and cried. I wanted to visit the Santa Monica Apple store. I knew instinctively I'd find fellow mourners with whom I could cry and wonder aloud how such a brilliant man, leading innovator in personal computing, music and animated film industries could be beaten by cancer.  He just seemed bigger than a disease that so voraciously vanquishes the lives of less accomplished mortals.

I bought my first Apple product in 1984 and have been an unabashed Apple fan ever since. I admire the clean simplicity of Apple products even if I don't understand or utilize even half of any devices' capability.  Most of all I admired that Steve Jobs wanted to change the world and he did. I admired Steve Jobs unconditionally -- flaws and all.  I needed to find my own personal way to say thank you and goodbye. 

It took me four days to stop crying, gather myself and organize my day so I could take time away from work. On October 9th I printed the photo from the Apple web site and scribbled, "Thank you, Steve Jobs for the difference you made in my life through your life's work." Around 2 PM I began the nine-block walk to the Santa Monica Apple store, 5" x 7" note in hand, intending to leave it on the sidewalk in front of the store where I expected to find a spontaneous memorial of flowers, notes and apples.
What I didn't expect was this:
Santa Monica Apple Store tribute/memorial to Steve Jobs 
The Warhol-esque, three-panel vision of a larger-than-life Steve Jobs rested against the Apple store's front window.  Each panel was about four feet tall by three feet wide. The canvases were striking, poignant and quietly powerful. There was something so cathartic, so right about the art work -- I conjured the memory of John Lennon, Steve Jobs and Beatles' music.  There were flower bouquets, single roses, candles, cards and apples with a single bite taken from side like the iconic Apple logo. It was a magical memorial.  

I placed my note at the base of the left hand screen next to a generous bouquet. Many notes read simply, "Thank you."  Like me, several people in the quiet crowd around the memorial read the notes, stood in silent reverie, left something behind and took photos. I'm still moved by the show of affection for a man I'm sure none of us who visited the store that day ever met.  

After I placed my note, I entered the Apple store and asked the young man who'd helped me solve an ITunes problem, if one of the store employees painted the art work.  He said no, and none of the employees knew anything about it. It had been left anonymously and was there when the first employees arrived to open the store that morning, Oct. 9th.  

I haven't returned to the store since, so I don't know if the artist returned to reclaim the canvases or if the memorial is still there.  I may go visit the store again tomorrow, November 9, a month after my visit and ask if anyone knows any more about the art.  


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