To see and be seen.

Ashley spread her blanket out on the sand and smoothed out the wrinkles. Then she settled in. People of all ages, sizes, and styles walked by in front of her. She thought about unwrapping her sandwich, but she wasn't ready to fend off the seagulls yet. So she rested back on her elbows and watched. An older gentleman walked by, in a full grey linen suit, with a twisted wooden cane in one hand and his wife holding his other. She had a sundress that brushed her calves, and looked as though she could probably use a cane too, but her husband held her close. A runner came up behind them and called "On your left!" before running past in her neon pink running shorts and lime green tank top. Her ponytail swished back and forth as she ran.

Ashley looked up the beach. Other blankets were spread out here and there, fellow watchers, mostly. There were people who came here to see, to take a break from their own lives and imagine a bit about the lives of others, and there were those who came to be seen. They were mostly the people walking around in their swimsuits who never seemed to get wet, and the people who perhaps walked and ran a bit too closely to the blankets, who made sure they couldn't avoid being seen. There were also those who came here to be in their own world, who couldn't care less about whether they were seen, or saw others. Ashley suspected the elderly couple to be of this sort.

She could hear the waves coming in, and the seagulls calling to each other about the food they found. She heard kids in the shallows, where the water only splashed their knees when the waves came in and they'd laugh, every time. She heard the scratching walk of one very determined hermit crab, trying to sneak by unnoticed at the edge of her blanket. Ashley sat up and he scurried away, startled. She opened her sandwich and took a bite. One seagull had clearly spotted her already, and landed nearby, She didn't mind sharing her sandwich with him, but she didn't like the mobbing swarm of many seagulls, so she tossed him a crust about six feet away, and kept a steady stream of bread tossed to him to keep him quiet until the sandwich was gone.

When she was done, she stood, shaking the blanket and folding it. The seagull had come closer to peck at the laces of her shoes, which had been near the bottom of the blanket, so she shooed him away and emptied the sand out of them. Lacing them up, she took one last look up the beach. There were clouds rolling in now, and many other watchers were packing up to go. A few oblivious people who'd fallen asleep would be woken up with the rain on their backs soon. Ashley smiled. It had been a good day.