Every day, I choose a different world. The best thing about it is that I never know where I’ll end up when I launch myself into space. I drift along with consistently renewed impatience, watching for any surprise my daily exploration might hold in store. This has been going on for four years now… though I thought I’d soon die of boredom when I first took up running as a means of transportation.
Let’s be honest—running is just putting one foot in front of the other, taking great care to repeat the same movement, down to the nearest millimetre. Can you imagine a worse activity? Yes. How about regularly running along the same route? This is exactly what I’m faced with as I leave home and run to work. Mine is therefore a predetermined journey.
To paraphrase the narrator in Fight Club, everything should be “a copy of a copy of a copy.” Copy, repeat, echo, replica. Replicant? What was it that Roy Batty—a copy of a humanoid—said before dying? “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.” That’s it… that’s exactly what happened to me: from repeated—and fortunately flawed—action, comes the hitherto unseen.
I’ve seen the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, half swallowed by a cloud, reappear, congested with suburbanites who saw nothing other than the immobile bumper blocking their path. I’ve seen the Saint Lawrence lock up under the onslaught of winter, only to transform over the space of just one season into a vast playground for fishermen and reckless runners. I’ve seen my shadow stretch out from my feet as far as the eye can see, blown away by the low rays of the sun. I’ve seen a fox running along the ice floe in the Old Port—a scarlet spot against an immaculate backdrop of white—racing an icebreaker, with Montreal’s skyscrapers in the distance. Much like the Nexus 6 androids in Blade Runner, I developed an obsession with photographs. In my case, I immortalize these moments that only exist when finding oneself in the right place at the right time—opportunities that I provoke by diving head first into the worst weather conditions Quebec has to offer, day after day after day. Rather than watching my feet following the same path ad infinitum, my eyes are constantly on the lookout for some view that may have previously escaped me, for a quality of light that makes the landscape seem new again, for an untamed sky.
Every morning, I leave Old Longueuil, crossing the river over the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, and making my way through Parc Jean-Drapeau. My run takes me along the front of Habitat 67’s cubes, and ends in Old Montreal. Same thing at the end of the day, in reverse.
It’s a 10-kilometre route that takes me to another world, while others ride the metro. By far the best decision in my life as a runner.