One of our goals at Spin is to help people move freely. What does this mean? To the best of our ability, we want to remove unnecessary friction as our riders move through their days and lives. A lot of time and energy is lost when we’re sitting in traffic, looking for parking, and generally scrambling to get around a city. From time to time, we like to share stories about riders that epitomize this idea of moving freely. One of those riders is Christopher C., a freelance photographer living in San Marcos, Texas. Here’s his story:
Some might say that life is an unfolding journey in which the ultimate goal is getting to a place where we are simply … ourselves. For a lot of us, it can take time to get there. Christopher probably falls in this category.
At the center of this journey is a scooter. As a kid, he always wanted one, but despite his pleadings and requests, the desired two-wheeler never showed up beneath the Christmas tree. There were bikes, skateboards, roller skates, but never that scooter.
Along with desiring a scooter, Christopher also set his sights on becoming a filmmaker. Like so many other young people during the ’80s, he wanted to be the next Steven Spielberg when he was growing up. Christopher went to film school and then started working in the industry. The only gigs he could land, though, were as grips, PAs, and electricians on set. To his dismay, he never got his chance to sit in the coveted director’s chair.
Things don’t always go as planned. On top of career frustrations, Christopher went through a divorce, which led to a real low point: He struggled with alcohol and lost his home. A DUI was the wake-up call he needed. Christopher went to rehab, got sober, and started putting his life back together. Tired of the stress of the film industry, Christopher began working as a contractor. He was pretty good at it, but it didn’t make him happy. “I kind of had a sense that I wasn’t doing what I really wanted,” he explained.
After completing a six-month gig that brought him to San Marcos, Texas, Christopher hung up his saw and drill for the last time. Being new to town, he felt a natural urge to explore. “San Marcos is a really pretty part of Central Texas,” he mused. “They call it hill country, with rivers running through and beautiful sunsets.” He went out, bought a camera, and started taking pictures. He was once again doing something he loved.
People started to recognize Christopher. He was everywhere, always with his distinctive handlebar mustache, long ponytail, and camera around his neck. It was a labor of love at first and Christopher didn’t get any money for the pictures he’d take at concerts and other events, which he later posted on Facebook. But soon, job requests started pouring in.
At the time, he was sharing a car with his girlfriend and using it to get around town to his various freelance gigs. There was a day, though, when she needed the vehicle from sunup to sundown. As an alternative, Christopher hopped on his bike, but the tire was flat. “Something dawned on me,” he said. “I’d seen [Spin] scooters around town, and they looked kind of cool. I was like, ‘yeah, I’m gonna give it a try.’”
For Christopher, it was more than a convenient option in a tight spot. “I kind of fell in love with the whole Spin thing,” he said. “It was like being a kid again. There’s a freeing quality to it; it’s like floating on air.”
Christopher’s relationship with the city of San Marcos has reached a near iconic level. With the help of the San Marcos Art League and the San Marcos Mermaid Society, Christopher has set out to take a portrait of all 65,000 residents. The goal is to capture this unique moment in time, while the city still has a small-town feel, before it becomes a full-blown destination spot like its neighboring locale, Austin.
On a recent trip to get some photos developed, out of the blue, the store clerk said to Christopher, “You’re that photographer, right? I’ve been dying to meet you.” Christopher was amused as the clerk continued, “I had a customer come in on Halloween night, and they were looking for an instant camera. They had a fake mustache that looks just like yours. And they put a wig on with a ponytail, along with those John Lennon sunglasses you’re wearing right now. And I go, ‘Who are you supposed to be?’ And they said, ‘Oh, I’m trying to be this guy, a photographer here in town. He’s everywhere.”
As Christopher told this story, his voice took on a quiet, reflective tone. “You know, I don’t aspire to be anyone but me these days,” he said. “I’ve finally grown comfortable into my own skin, and it’s a great compliment that I’ve had some kind of impact.” We’re happy we can be a part of Christopher’s journey.