As I sit here, unable to cook, unable to work, and barely able to brush my own hair (broke two fingers, messed my hand up a bit, and a finger got infected...), I find myself watching reruns of Parts Unknown. And I’m lowkey but highkey slipping into a slight sadness.
But, it’s more than my usual morose, and I know it’s not a depression, because I’m actually in a pretty manic state right now. I find myself just...not...down....but in an almost inexplicable feeling watching Bourdain. And it’s been that way since his death. No “celebrity” has died and made me feel this way. I honestly am one of those people that have always been amused and fascinated by people who are legitimately snotty nose, ugly face, bawling their eyes out over a person who they’ve never met or seen or who never thought (or will think about) them. I’ve never obsessed over any celebrity, famous person, or hell...even the people I actually know to the point of knowing their date of birth, how many kids they have, where they’re from, etc...and I will never be that person. Thank God for Facebook for birthday reminders tbh. I can’t call it being upset because I cook for a living. I can’t say it’s because I admired his lifestyle, before or after he became famous. I think it’s more so of being able to see a lot of myself in what he showed himself to be in his books, his shows, and his interviews.
I mean, I think at this point, many of us who were shocked by his death (I was shocked but not at the same time) saw ourselves in him. Or at least wanted to see that. But for me, I could empathize with many of the struggles he spoke about (minus the hard drug use, grew up around it and stayed as far away as i could). I felt like the positive, funny things he spoke about, were in their own way, exactly how I felt about them and would speak about them. I recently read an article/interview published after his death where he spoke about how he knew he just wasn’t meant to be working for someone else, confined to their way of living, working, and doing things. And I was like, “finally, someone gets it!”. It’s more than just being a leader, or being your own boss...it’s about trying to be as free and in control of your own life as possible...which....when you put it into words, sounds like a contradiction. But I get it! This is a dude who lived by contradictions. This was a dude who enjoyed the finer things in life...the best wine, the most beautiful places, beautiful women and famous friends, but really loved the most simple things about all of them. He loved food, his family, and his smokes. He loved shifty ass bars, sketchy back alley restaurants, and local food and people. Here was a guy who seemed to have it all, who seemed to be getting better and happier. But even before his death, I’d watch his shows or videos or whatever, and could see a bit of...something ain’t right still in him. It’s like my Grandma says about the people in my family, he had sad eyes. And I get that.
I won’t try to characterize him much more though, because this is a person I’d never had or will have the honor of meeting. I can’t put my finger on why he killed himself, and I honestly have a pretty sick, almost romanticized way of why I think why he did what he did, where he did it at, with whom he did it with, etc. But this isn’t a post on depression, or mental health, or suicide, or going through these things as a person in Food and Bev, or as a person in general really. That’s a whole different ball game. And a post that’d take more than a few minutes to write about. I’ve seen people posting today about, “Who could be the next Anthony Bourdain” and of course the rebuttals of how there could never be another lol. I only hope there can be folks who can uphold his legacy (Gordon Ramsay, don’t you dare do that show bub *hard side eye*) and remember and honor who he was. I don’t foresee myself ever watching or reading anything of his anymore without getting a bit....weird....but I think that’s okay. I’m happy and proud he got to come to my city, TWICE, and learn about our food and culture. But yeah, it is what it is. I hope above all, he found his peace. Here’s to you, Uncle Chef Tony Bourdain. Stay mixxy.