Tofino Profile: Taylor Paterson
by Shirley Langer, Tofino
Taylor was truly surprised and flattered when I called him for an interview. Everyone's got a story, I tell him, even a young guy like you. Besides, the point of these profiles is to raise the profile of a person, any person, that everyone sees frequently, but knows little about. Taylor Alexander Paterson fits the bill, since there are few people that don't check out the films at Groovy Movies, where Taylor works. He estimated I might get half a page of notes on him.
Taylor is a young man of substance, as my friend, Carmen Castro would say. He's not just eye candy--a handsome guy with teeth that would qualify to advertise teeth whitening products. He's independent by nature, has two jobs, can take apart and put together car engines, likes reading books, and while he spends as much time as he can surfing, the fellow has dreams and ambition.
Pushing himself out of the nest, Taylor moved to Tofino the day after his Nanaimo high school graduation. He didn't really dig school, because "school is part of the system, and I was very anti-system." Despite this, Taylor says that some of his teachers were important mentors. He attributes his anti-establishment tendencies to his mom's influence.
Like many people, Taylor has lived everywhere in Tofino, his first place being a 6 by 2 feet rectangle on someone's floor. Why Tofino? "Because it's away from all the city hustle and bustle (Taylor actually uses such old-fashioned expressions), because so many people are friendly and greet you by name, and because most youth here are not driven by consumer values. They'd rather save their money and travel, have experiences."
Driven by love of surfing, Taylor has hit southern shores several times already. Throughout high school, he and several buddies worked and planned a surfing trip to Costa Rica in 2003. This trip extended to include Panama and Nicaragua. The journey humbled Taylor in many ways, and opened his eyes to the nature of the third world, so different from the privileged place he came from. Above all, he found the people of Nicaragua inspirational. "Some people I met were impoverished, but paradoxically, they were the most friendly, the most generous. His experience was that most Canadian city people are closed to people they don't know." Tofino, he feels, has an open and friendly vibe--people care about what you're doing, what's happening to you. Since that first trip, Taylor has traveled by himself through Central America in 2005, and attended a family reunion on the west coast of Mexico earlier this year.
Not being a surfing dudess— am I inventing a term?—I know Taylor through Groovy Movies. I've come to trust his judgment (sort of) about films. The way he got the job is amusing. When Taylor worked at the Co-op Gas Bar, he had chatted with owner Michael, and stuck Mike's phone number in his wallet. Down in Panama, he thought he should start thinking about earning some money, so dug out the little piece of paper and called Mike from Panama about a job.
He describes his work as being "quirky" at times. People often request another movie gratis because they didn't like the one they rented. "All I can do is apologize sincerely," Taylor says, flashing his million-dollar smile. I think that the quality of sincerity actually characterizes Taylor. He tells me about a tourist, a woman, who came into the store several times one day to tell anyone and everyone in the shop that the film, Off the Map was shot a block and a half from her house. Her 15 minutes of fame, I guess. By the way, that film is placed in Groovy Movie's category of Top 100 Movies.
Would you have guessed that The Station Agent is the most rented film in the store? I ask Taylor to explain its cinematic virtues, and to my surprise, he hasn't seen it. In fact, he doesn't watch many movies. It's not that he doesn't like film. You see, it's due to a hereditary trait that Taylor inherited from his father.
"We fall asleep watching movies," he admits. "My father could sit in omnimax to see the most exciting and loudest film of all time, and he would be asleep within minutes!" Go figure!
Kids make Taylor laugh. "They come running up all excited, waving a box. I want this one," they say. "Then their parents say, 'But you've already seen it lots of times,' but the kids insist they have to see it again." Evidently The Incredibles is still the most popular film with the rug rat crowd.
Taylor plans to return to school in September to get a commercial boat driver's license. He already has Power Squadron, the license to drive boats under 14 feet. Taylor's second job is with Adventures Pacific, so I think he's angling to tour people around Clayoquot Sound.
I mentioned earlier that Taylor has dreams and ambition. Someday, Taylor wants to be involved in the promotion of alternative fuels and energy. He's already done a lot of reading, and gets excited about the potential. So far, Dylan Green of Tofino Bus is Tofino's most active green entrepreneur in the energy field. Tofino could use another sincerely green guy. Taylor Alexander Paterson, with a classy name like that, we look forward to hearing good things about you. Hold the course, dude.
Shirley Langer describes herself as a woman about town with a well developed civic consciousness.