Losing Vicariously

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

I walked down the beach in Mazatlan in between rains, flip flops in one hand, camera in the other, and took pictures of the sand and the surf. When my comrades turned off the beach to head towards a local watering hole, I followed. I set my camera down to wipe the sand from my feet and flip flops. I stepped into a puddle of water for a final rinse. A man passing by asked if I wanted to use the outdoor shower to rinse my feet. I told him they were already rinsed, but thank you. My comrades and I put our flip flops on and continued off sand towards our for-the-time-being destination.

Our table looked out over the beach. I went to grab my camera and ask our waiter to take a picture of us, but there was no camera to grab. I searched my pocket. I searched my backpack. I searched the table again. My pockets again. Backpack again. Nothing. I panicked. Day 4 of the trip, and I’d been picture-happy from day 1.

After retracing my steps alone back to the sand, back to the store we’d gone to just after the sand, and finding nothing, I returned to the watering hole where my party remained. I sat on the bench and looked out into the ocean. Into the grey sky, the foaming indigo sea, the drizzling rain. I wanted to sulk. I cracked opened a beer and thought about all the pictures I’d lost. And then I got over myself.

John Mayer sings 3×5 about leaving his camera at home and seeing the world through his own eyes rather than a camera lens. Sure, pictures capture part of the experience, but only a thousand words of it. The true joy is in the actual experience. As I listened to the sounds of people laughing, joking, commenting, and watched others walk, peddle, jump, purchase, order, enjoy, I realized that the Universe was trying to tell me that I didn’t need my camera. Not for this part of the trip.

Losing my camera was the best thing that could have happened to me that day. I have no plans to replace it just yet, only to experience life through my own eyes, rather than report back to home base with pictures for people to live vicariously through me. And then I remembered that Dos Equis commercial about the most interesting man in the world.

He lives vicariously through himself. Do you?

Photo credit: PhillipC via Flickr.

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