When I was six or seven, there was a boy in my class that already looked like a 30 year old young professional. He had fluffy blond hair that stuck up evenly so that it looked like he had styled it, silver glasses, and was always dressed in tiny adult outfits: When I think of him, I picture him in fall-colored corduroy pants, a light blue button-down shirt, and and a deep pine tree green sweater vest. Howie was the first young person I’d met that wore a sweater vest. Igor, roughly 11 years later, was the second.
Igor’s birthday was this week and I thought it would be fun to do a feature article on him. You know, like I how I said hearing someone tell you about their best friend is a good way to get to know someone.
How did you meet?
For my freshman year I went to a small, public university in Missouri. I lived the biggest dorm. During the first months there were activities for freshman and college kids to meet other people. Just a few doors down the hall from me there were four boys, Jeff, Sean, Igor, and Nate. I met Sean & Jeff first in the cafeteria, and they introduced me to their friend from high school, Igor, and his roommate Nate.
What was your first impression of them?
Since my first contact into the group was Jeff and Sean, I tended to lump Igor and Nate together. They seemed much more calm. [Slash], they seemed to both sleep a lot. I didn’t know this at the time, but Igor is a night owl and so would end up sleeping in pretty late. From my impression, it just seemed like he was asleep for half of the day. But Igor would more frequently hang out than than Nate so I got to know him better. Igor is very tall, was always well-dressed, deliberate in action, and soft-spoken. His hair was longer than it is today. It was a dark brown shaggy hair cut that hung over his forehead and curled around his ears.
What stood out to you about them?
Igor is exceedingly kind and well-mannered. This demeanor continues to stands out when compared to all the people I’ve met, but it is radiantly clear when compared to other 18-year-old dudes. While other guys I met were kind of fidgety, teasing, concerned with being cool, and had a hard laugh they used to assert themselves and let everyone know they had no feelings—Igor was a calm water. He would ask about my day, we would have conversations, he would say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’…A bunch of small considerations that I hadn’t really experienced before from a peer. I can’t emphasize enough how rare it is (for me at the very least) for someone to actually be as polite and sincere as Igor is naturally. He’s not doing something extreme, but he’s just reliably a thoughtful person.
I remember over one long weekend when one my roommates were away and I was sick. I was laying in bed, and someone knocked at my door. I didn’t really want to see anyone. I can’t remember how it played out exactly anymore, but Igor communicated with me through the door that he had brought tissues if I needed them. I didn’t. I think I had a cough or a head ache and didn’t actually need them.
“Ok, let me know if you need anything.”
I waited until heard him walking off and after a while, I quietly opened the door and peered down the hall. It was empty, he’d already gone back to his room.
This was a completely foreign interaction to me. It was like something you see in movies that I had never experienced before. Someone is sick. Friend offers them help. I wasn’t even that close to Igor. I asked him about it last week and he didn’t remember it at all. Probably because he did it without thinking or wanting something in return. That’s the kind of person Igor is.
How did you become good friends?
By the end of they year, the five of us plus my roommate Laura were hanging out pretty regularly. We would play Super Smash Brothers on their Wii pretty regularly. I got text messaging on my cell phone halfway through the year so they would actually ask me to meals. Despite getting closer, I ended up transferring schools at the end of the year.
We planned trips as a group to go to Chicago that summer (Igor refused to go/was in Israel). The next year I visited them over spring break. The year after I came in the summer. But it was always kind of as a group unit. With very occasional conversations in between. I kept in touch with Igor the most because we could talk about design programs every now and then. He would call me on my birthday.
I graduated from the University of Wyoming and was living in Denver. During his birthday phone in the summer of 2012 we caught up and he told me he was going to New York to look at a school. I invited myself because I was kind of interested in moving there. We talked a lot leading up to the event, which was different. Ever since then we just stayed in touch. He’s become one of the most important people in my life. There was about a four month overlap when we both lived in New York pretty close to each other and we ended up hanging out really regularly to just wander around the city. He can make me laugh more than almost any other person. He’s always interesting to talk to and I never get annoyed. He’s a good person.
Hope you have a good birthday year, Igz.