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Males Compete for Space on the Beach

malescompeteforspaceonthebeach


“The idea is to get away from one place, but I never get away, I never reach another place. I try to struggle with the things that bind me, but I forget the nature of the bonds. I go to the movies. I get up at four and read until dawn. I do everything but the work I came here to do.”

John Cheever, from his journal, which I hope he wouldn’t mind me reading


Why I don’t like highway rest areas? Why I don’t like crowded airports? Well, obviously there’s nothing to like about places with sticky floors and filthy carpets. They serve their purpose. I use them, appropriately. And I fear them spiritually.

I fear my fellow travelers, with their reading glasses and their favorite pillows, their comfortable underpants that get worn and washed daily, weekly, endlessly, until the elastic wears out, or holes appear in the seams. Then, well, those streaming, consciousness-carrying mammals who are disembarking from the jet, or standing in line at Sbarro, will throw their underpants in the trash.

Maybe I pretend I am alone here, with my friends and family, and even my facebook friends on a generous day. We’re not crowding anyone out or asking for more than we’re due. I just don’t want to see the competition. At least, not too many of them at once. They point out, just with their yawns, their shuffling in the parking lot, their flip flops, their ringtones, that I am not a unique user. Who am I to them? Just the woman who took their parking space, and sat in the spray from their flush.

Travel alone. Just try it.

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