why are we here?

 
In the parking lot at the beach, I mean.
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Because there are never no cars here.

But not everyone gets out, not everyone walks, not even along the pier. Most people don’t, in fact. They choose, instead, to sit in their cars. Most are alone, some eat, some read, others might be listening to music. (Surprisingly few appear to being staring at devices.) I suppose some talk, on the phone, to themselves. There’s a kind of unwritten code that you don’t look at someone in their car, that they’re here not to be seen, but for some other purpose, something private, if only to contemplate the universe in the shape of a seagull.
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I try to follow the code but notice the man to my left smiles as he stares out his window. It’s a grey day, nowhere near sunrise or sunset and I wonder what he’s watching, thinking.
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I wonder why he’s in this parking lot at almost noon on a Sunday. Is he a widower, a bachelor, recently tiffed and needing to get out of the house to cool off or is there a happy partner at home glazing a ham?

An Asian man walks past toward the pier. Grey hair, slightly stooped; something about the way he grimaces against an only slight and not very cold breeze, pleasure mixed with something else, reminds me of my dad who was at no time Asian.

But then our looks are always the least of things, and yet…

Maybe it’s this: maybe we’re simply here to watch each other, to catch a glimpse of something that’s real, to be reminded.

 

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