Jessica B: As his friend, I admired the dedication which Jos put into that massage table so much. I think it was his seriousness and devotion to the task. One of the things which I found so special about Jos was that he took everything, and everyone, so seriously. He had no qualms about admitting to himself what he wanted to do, no matter how quirky, and approaching it with the same sincerity and earnestness as he would anything else. I think my admiration, when it came to the massage table, also stemmed from my own aspirations in carpentry, which I never give myself the time to fully explore. The massage table, or "Table," as it was called, was a dream for Jos, and watching it become a reality was just as exciting as debating with him about a discussion in Professor Uhlman's 1st Amendment Law class.
Table also reminds me of another thing which Jos, Jano and I all pushed each other to do during that semester in the Capital--to learn all of DC, not just the politicking and what was going on on the Hill, but where we could find good thrift stores, get a good fresh loaf of bread, buy flowers to put in the windows, buy wood for Table....where we could catch a free concert, how to find the hidden movie theatre in Georgetown where the broken seats didn't bother you because second run art films were half-price...to not just meet people on the hill, but to befriend the doorman and the CVS checkout woman and the girl who worked at the bookstore. I would have been interested in all of this, but I wouldn't have found it all, or enjoyed it so much, without the three of us all looking for it together.
It is hard for me to entirely characterize Jos' frustration with our DC semester, largely because of my own inability to see it while we were there together. My DC semester was a turning point in my own life, and I loved my internship at a small Latin America-policy think tank as well as our courses in 1st Amendment Law and Electoral Politics. As Jos' frustration grew, I was having a wonderful experience, and it was difficult for us to relate our respective frustration and enjoyment, although we had countless conversations about it.
One of the largest issues was Jos' disappointment with his internship. Their disorganization, which kept them from executing their mission, frustrated him tremendously. They did not really have enough for him to do to keep him occupied full time, and so he spent a lot of his last month plus coming home early working on his final project (I, on the other hand, was working 60 + hours at my internship, and rarely found the weekend time to work on my project). The program itself presented other problems--The CMC DC program is highly touted, with a vigorous application process. However, it is one of those programs where, once you're there, the work just plain isn't that challenging. I think the lack of intense academic coursework also frustrated him. Jos' pleasures increasingly came from outside endeavors, discovering the city, making new friends, rather than our program itself.
Which is not to say he did not contribute tremendously. Jos raised the bar in all of our class discussions--we all would have learned so much less without him. He forced us all to think so much harder, and I will always cherish that.