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LOEWEN: Dateline Ixtapa: Seeking the solidarity of the Thin Men

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn
January 21, 2015 - 7:56 AM

I search in vain for the Thin Men.

My partner Wendy and I are currently luxuriating in the sun and surf of Ixtapa, Mexico. It’s a wonderful interruption to our lives as wage slaves in “el Norte” where we scrimp and save for occasions like our glorious Now.

And yet it´s disconcerting to a Thin Man like me to be awash in the flesh of my contemporaries. These “snowbirds” from the wintry North are surely turkeys -- plucked and plump -- and not the gentle, simple, sun-seekers of Anne Murray´s popular song.

We witness the pull of our pale brethren to the magnetic shores of the tropical Pacific, where the waters are as warm as a summer shower in the Okanagan, and the sand is as silky smooth as the dress pants we don each day to meet the demands of our workaday worlds. There’s something restorative in these seasonal departures from the cold.

We walk before breakfast, hand-in-hand Wendy and I, meditative on the beach. Appetites build as the sweat pours out of us, northerners unaccustomed to the searing heat of Mexico in winter.

And all around us, as predictable as the swelling tides, come the waves of flesh, the naughty bits tightly-bound in high-tech fabrics, giving form to islands of relative calm in the midst of roiling Sargasso Seas of skin and bone.

Ecce homo. Behold Man.

Once ensconced beneath the tropical sun, these bearers of flesh and fat wallets bronze magnificently. And they come at us with renewed familiarity morning after blessed morning. Oh how they bronze!

The complaint of a Thin Man like me is that I don’t bronze as beautifully as the Big Boys. By comparison, their bodies are gargantuan, even occasionally graceful, canvasses for the sun to paint.

Me?

What I present to the merciless Eye above, the sun observing All, is pale, ungainly, arthritically anaemic, and about as salubrious as Kafka, tubercular at a seaside spa.

Perhaps at the root of my inability to tan quickly is that the sun keeps getting pulled towards the corpulent Canadians all around us. Somehow your stick-like scribe on Mexican shores slips just past the sun’s rays as they glance the globe.

And so I labour alone in the humid heat, this unbearable light. For there is nary another Thin Man in sight. Whence comes my succour? With whom might I commiserate?

In the end I search in vain for the Thin Men. And my exclusion from the company of the rest allows me to slide silently by, a shadow ever-observant beneath southern skies. I sidle up to the bar, marveling at the trippy wonder of Mescal, and oh so grateful to be gloriously alone with my bride, the greatest of a Thin Man’s tender mercies.

— Having lost his 2,500 volume library in the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire, Jeffrey is beginning to fill the void by writing his own. Reach him at jeff.loewen(at)gmail.com

 

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