Streaking On Wreck BeachThursday, March 07, 2013
The only sport I have been good at used to be called ping-pong.
Since I was raised in a middle class family in Argentina and in Mexico I was never a member of a family sports club. In Latin America, unless you were rich enough to be a member of such a club, your chances of developing an interest and skill in such sports as tennis or swimming were limited.
I am a terrible (but efficient) swimmer, a lousy football player (and consider that I am Argentine), and I could never swing a bat and hit a fast ball or a slow ball. I may have played 10 games of cricket in my life and one or two attempts at playing rugby. In my late teens I broke damaged a shoulder playing touch football. A couple of years later I remember flagging a cab in Mexico City and then not being able to lower my arm. My shoulder had collapsed.
As a runner I was neither fast nor slow.
For some chess is a sport. I played it for many years and could not sleep nights going over my losing moves. After a while of severe insomnia I realized that the only excuse one had for loosing at chess was stupidity. Loosing often exacerbated my belief that I was an idiot. The less I tell you about my dismal approach to contract bridge, the better.
But besides playing a wicked game of ping-pong (I perfected my style on a table, with the subsequent unsteady deck) of an Argentine Merchant Marine Victory ship, I could, I think join the Vancouver Sun Run. Except that I loathe running for the sake of running. When I arrived to Vancouver in 1975 I took stroke improvement swimming classes at the Burrard St. YMCA. The classes made me a slightly better swimmer but I never achieved the peerless style of my mother who learned to swim in Manila Bay. Even though I smoked a pipe at the time I was the only one in the swimming class that could swim more lengths underwater. My guess is that living for so many years in Mexico City’s altitude had given my lungs extra capacity to store air.
The purpose of all the above is to give me a justification for running the picture you see here. I have long forgotten her name. I met her at Wreck Beach in the late 70s. She liked to run on the wet sand and do Tai-Chi. She was a post hippie era hippie. I first met her when she approached me wanting to try out my ever present in my mouth pipe. I told her I only smoked tobacco in it. But she tried anyway and we became friends in the casual circumstances that friends could be friends while sunning themselves on Wreck Beach.
One day I pulled my camera and lazily took pictures of her running. One of the pictures was extremely over-exposed so I never attempted to reproduce it in my darkroom as a colour negative. But with my scanner I was able to coax the neg to reveal information that was always there. I kind of like the photograph. I can almost feel the wind in the face and the comforting pleasure of wet sand on the bottoms of my feet.