He sat at the table next to us, looking to be about 56 years of age, with a new Canon digital camera on a bold black strap. His hair was thinning but not quite grey. He was of average height and wore a pale yellow polo shirt and sneakers. He didn't belong at this California beach, and he kept staring at the viewfinder.
You could see his cell phone in its belt holster. It was the most noticeable thing about his hips. He was armed with the technology. But he did not aim and shoot. He did not send or receive any signals. He merely an air of hesitant confidence, like the driver of a new 1967 Cadillac who had never had power steering before. Empowered.
I look at men and women and imagine their histories, especially the older men and women.
The Asian woman in dark blue shorts walked talking with her Caucasian friends. Her legs were stout but beginning to lose their firmness, and her bangs were now more grey than black. She canted her head at an angle that seemed puzzled that they weren't hearing what she was saying. She was a fifth wheel on an automobile that had lost its pizazz which only made her more their equal than she ever was in her younger days.
The multi-million dollar houses along the Strand have a studied kind of clutter. The grizzled old man who sits staring could be the father of the owner although he looks like he was just rescued from the gutter and hastily cleaned up. There was resignation in his eyes barely following the joggers. He could be jaded beyond the ordinary world of the beachcombers, or he could be hung over, or he could be the owner. There's no guarantee that a conversation with him would yield any greater knowledge of anything. He was just one of the few privileged to be welcomed on the deck, and he didn't have any reason to say anything more. He was there, everyone else was not.
Everyone rests on laurels. Sometimes it's difficult to belive they are earned by acts of greatness this foggy morning on the beach. Everyone has their little crutch that gets them near to the sand. The tourists had their ITALIA shirts and colors. The girls volleyball team had their engagement. The Six Man teams had their warmup exercises started and stopped by the command of a shaken cowbell.
It's a free country and so many people are literate and diversely employed that there is no discernable order in their social intercourse. We seem impossible to judge.