No, I didn't enlist. That photo wasn't taken in any sort of official combat zone. Rather, I snapped it while riding Rockaway Boulevard in Rockaway Beach.
It might be the roughest paved cycling surface I've encountered in an industrialized country. That's not surprising, given that Rockaway Beach was one of the areas that incurred the most destruction from Superstorm Sandy.
I rode along the Atlantic shore of southern Queens and Nassau County to Long Beach. There, as in most of the Rockaways, the storm destroyed most of the boardwalk so that the only things remaining are the pilings over which it stretched. Yesterday, construction crews began to take down the remaining wood, most of which looked something like this:
Some people were taking boards from it--as souvenirs, I guess. (I wonder whether they'll end up on eBay.) Others seemed to have other motives in going to the beach.
Was this man enjoying the solitude, feeling resigned to his fate or trying to come to terms with his grief?
Whatever he was feeling, he and the couple may have to follow the same path for the foreseeable future.