Wondering about people’s stories

The sand that seems to go on forever, the Pacific Ocean, the amusement park, the volleyball courts, the walkers, cyclists and rollerbladers on the path — they all make Santa Monica Beach one of my favorite places from Suzi’s and my travels.

I know … I know … it’s probably a horrible tourist trap, but I also find Times Square endlessly enchanting so … whatever.

When we went to Los Angeles several years ago, our hotel was less than a 20-minute walk to the beach, and from the park and pedestrian area above the beach, it’s just as amazing at sunset as in the middle of the day.


Yet one evening after dinner, as I leaned on the rail, I was watching the parking lot below as much as admiring the beach.

It was the end of the day, and people had been on and off the beach since early that morning, but each of those cars pulling out of the parking lot and turning choosing a road before disappearing into the night represented a story that had come to an end.

I wonder what they were.

Building project

I first saw her about 100 yards away or so, and when I realized she was walking toward me, I grabbed my mask out of my pocket and slipped it on.

She was an older woman; we greeted each other when we passed and kept going. Other than what were obviously different views on the weather — I was in a T-shirt and shorts, she was wearing a jacket — neither of us had any idea what the other was thinking about.

In the story of our days, it was a purely random, happenstance, meaningless event.

It’s not a place we usually walk unless we want to get out for a quick stroll and the weather isn’t great, or I’m out alone like I was this time and just need to get out of the house for a while.

Through the woods is the back of a subdivision being built on the street below where we live. There used to be one house on the property, but they’re building another four or five. I stopped to take a look.

When Suzi and I got off in Chicago for our layover, he walked away for whatever part of his story was next.

The tall, blond guy at the Southwest Airlines gate at Logan Airport in Boston looked familiar.

As we were in line to get on the plane, I sneaked up behind him to see if I could read the name on the boarding pass. I could, he was who I thought he was and he didn’t catch me doing it, which is good because that probably would have been weird.

He sat a couple rows behind us on the other side of the aisle — I wouldn’t have imagined him flying Southwest with the regular people instead of another airline where he could fly in first class — and said hello to a couple people who recognized him before keeping to himself for the rest of the flight.

When Suzi and I got off in Chicago for our layover, he walked away for whatever part of his story was next.

We saw him after he lost in his first attempt, but a few years later, that tall, blond guy, Charlie Baker, was elected governor of Massachusetts.


Another woman, this one younger and with a dog, was coming my way, so I grabbed my mask and put it on again.

The dog started barking and pulling at its leash when I approached, and the woman stepped off to the side so I could get by without too much trouble. I think she said something about the dog being excited to see me, but I couldn’t quite make it out through her mask.

By this time, I had circled around to the front of the building project, a place we drive or walk past all the time because the street connects to the main road.

I’m no building expert, but once the project got rolling, it seems like building is going pretty quickly.

I wonder who’s going to move into those houses.

And I wonder what their stories will be.




2 thoughts on “Wondering about people’s stories

  1. Pingback: The week gone by — March 28 – A Silly Place

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