I had been thinking about Joe Biden taking on the US Presidency in his late 70s as I was out for my constitutional yesterday. I find it inspirational that age hasn’t stopped him in his tracks and I wish him well in what is a tough assignment.
Meanwhile, I was pulled out of my thoughts by a man who had just stepped off his bicycle. We were on a countryish road in the mist but by the lovely sea.
He had no qualms about talking to me: I wasn’t the invisible woman to him, which was a great start.
‘I’m worse than a child for sweets,’ was his opening gambit. ‘If I’m not smoking, I’m eating sweets.’ With that he cycled off.
I caught up with him at the end of my walk as he had gone round in a circle to add mileage. He told me that he is 79 and that he had just cycled about 10 miles but had another three or four to go. His wife died last year and he said that it was the wrong way round as she had lived well while he smoked, ate sugar like there was no tomorrow, drank too much, did everything baw-ways.’
What he failed to mention was his cycling. I just wonder if that’s been his saving grace as well as his great way with people. Not a word about the virus; just a lovely smile and a heart full of fun.
I hope he’s out and about today again and I wish him well in his endeavors.
The word that keeps floating into my head today is ‘contrasts.’ In part, it is driven by the US Election results and the differences between Biden and Trump, even though they are similar in terms of being older, white males.
It is also to the fore because November is a month of curious contrasts and ones which I seem to notice more and be more appreciative of because of what can sometimes seem like the greyness of the month.
This morning, it is dull and dank here with cloud almost touching our heads but as I was coming in our gate a glint of bright orange caught my eye from the Berberis bush and the Mahonia out the back has turned her gleaming yellow lights on as if putting on a bedside light in the depths of night.
The contrast that has perhaps struck me most relates to mindsets. Joe Biden’s litany of personal tragedies would be enough to defeat a huge number of people. His courage in the face of such hard knocks is nothing short of inspirational. I have no idea how he will fare as President but I think he has shown that there are alternatives to giving up in the face of adversity.
We do not live an equal life, but one of contrasts and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action.
It was 2am our time in Ireland and I woke with a jolt as if there was an alarm clock going off.
The Trump v Biden debate was just starting and all these miles away I listened to the whole thing on BBC radio. So it was a bit of a triangle Ireland, UK and US.
It certainly kept me awake but then I am a political animal. Not seeing them, just hearing their points and interjections was an interesting way to do it but maybe the body language would have told me a lot more.
There was no commentary like you’d get with a boxing match on radio so I had no idea if blows were hitting home or one or other was clinging on to the ropes for a breather.
What struck me most was Biden’s slow delivery compared to Trump’s faster speech.
Also, in the dead of night miles away, I couldn’t but wonder about the fact that these are two men who in other spheres would be written off as old and vulnerable and candidates for cocooning.