So I was on the beach yesterday taking photos and interviewing smokers for Andrew Donohue‘s story about the citywide smoking ban.

It was fun.

There’s nothing like being on Ocean Beach, weaving in amongst the bright young things in their bikinis and board shorts, when you’re wearing smart long pants and a smart pink shirt. And shoes.

To make it even worse, as I was interviewing one of the smokers (who made it onto today’s home page,) his friends started to try and convince me to strip off my shirt, roll up my trouser legs and drink a cold beer with them before joining in their game of beach volleyball.

Tempting, but I had serious work to do.

But the best anecdote to come from yesterday’s pounding of the pavement was when I interviewed Ardian Lushi. Eighteen-year-old Lushi was sitting on a rock, enjoying a quick cigarette when I approached him, sweating profusely, camera in one hand, voice recorder in the other.

The conversation went something like this:

Carless: “Hi, I’m a reporter, doing a story on a ban on smoking on the beach, do you have a minute?”

Lushi: “Erm, yeah. Sure.”

Carless: “So, right now, the city’s proposing a smoking ban for the city’s beaches, what do you think about that?”

Lushi: “Well, I don’t really come down to the beach very much, so it won’t really affect me.”

Carless: “What do you do with your butts?”

Lushi: “Excuse me?”

Carless: “Your cigarette butts – the ends of your cigarettes?”

Lushi: “Oh, I just throw them away, throw them on the ground.”

Carless: “You’re not from here are you?”

Lushi: “No, I’m from Albania, I’m an exchange student.”

Carless: “Are you allowed to smoke on the beach in Albania? Arethere beaches in Albania?”

Lushi: “Oh, you can do almost anything on the beach there. They don’t really have that many rules and stuff over there.”

Carless: “Ok. Can I take your photo?”

Lushi: “Err, why?”

Carless: For the article?

Lushi: “Who do you work for?”

Carless: “The Voice of San Diego, it’s a daily newspaper, online”

At this point, I started to take photos of the young man, as he sat there, looking awkward.

Lushi: “Um, what does smoking have to do with dating?”

Carless: “Excuse me?”

Lushi: “You said you work for a dating newspaper?”

Carless: “No, a daily newspaper.”

Lushi: “Oh, ok, I get it.”

Carless: (Finished photos) “Well, thanks a lot”

Lushi: “No problem.”

Pounding the pavement. Or should that be, pounding the sand? Either way, there’s nothing like it.


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