Jack, The No Jack CowboyThursday, July 15, 2010
I remember taking trains in Buenos Aires that would arrive as scheduled at the main terminal, Retiro. The times could be 8:17 or 4:13. It is then my English heritage that has always made me admire Phileas Fogg and I have always made it my duty to show up on time. What this really means is that I tend to show up early, just in case.
Five years ago Rosemary, Rebecca and I went to Buenos Aires and by using the excellent subway system we could arrive at our destinations as planned even though we were living in a hotel that was at the outskirts of downtown Buenos Aires.
Sometimes, this penchant for leaving early, grates on Rosemary’s nerves. Rebecca understands why I like to get to dance and baroque concert performances early. Because they are usually festival seating, she knows I always want to sit in the front row centre. We both enjoy listening to dancers breathe or listening to the overtones of a violin that we get at close proximity.
I tell my photography students that one of the most important necessities if one is to become a successful photographer is to show up on time. This always means, in many situations, to case the joint days before so that one knows what one is getting into. I remember one situation where I did not follow rule. It was a board room meeting at the Vancouver Club. I knew I needed to wear a suit and tie. What I did not plan was to shoot a board room meeting where the members of the board were sitting around a round table that had a large opening in the middle. I had to crawl on my hands and knees and bring my lights and camera under the table (between the feet of the serious men) to take my shots. A reconnoiter on another day would have prepared me for the surprise.
Photographic assignments on nearby islands which have meant I had to take a ferry have for me always been the worst scenario. I have missed a few ferries because of unseasonably busy days or in one case I mistakenly drove to Horseshoe Bay when I needed to go to the terminal at Tsawwassen.
It was sometime in the middle 80s when my Fiat X-19 was out of commission and I had to borrow Rosemary’s four door Honda Civic for a shoot on Salt Spring Island. I arrived at the ferry terminal nice an early. Soon I could see my ferry arriving in the horizon. It was then that I noticed that the left rear tire was flat. Would I have the time to jack up the car and change the tire? I was not sure. I was looking over my situation with puzzlement when a tall man dressed as a cowboy came up to me and said, “Sonny today is your lucky day in spite of your flat tire. Let me help you.” He then proceeded to show me how he could lift the car. With help from other motorists I was able to change the tire without using the jack and I managed to take a few photographs.
Just before the ferry docked the cowboy told me, “You must think that just because the motor is in the front that I would have no problem lifting the back of the car." To my shock and horror he moved to the front of the Honda and lifted one of the front tires with no problem. He then insisted I drive over his boot with my car. “Sonny, it’s simply mind over matter. It does not hurt.” I was too rattled to do so, so another man took up the cowboy’s offer.
Last Saturday afternoon as we were waiting for the Salt Spring ferry I told Rebecca the story. She did not believe me. Coincidentally as I was I putting away the file today with the pictures of the Auburn that were in last week’s blog I noticed a file called “Honda Being Lifted.”