It was a late summer day so I put my little beach chair in the car and headed to the ocean. October sun, gentle breezes, tourists gone. I found myself closing my eyes to just enjoy it all.
Now, you might think that conversations at the beach would be private and contained. But, when there’s a breeze….and there usually is…..voices carry. And so it was last week that I became privy to a wide ranging political discussion, just up wind from where I sat.
As I eavesdropped, I learned that the women sitting near me had, to a one, watched the latest presidential debate and were sharing their varied ideas and positions. They’d paid close attention to the big themes: health care, immigration, taxes, gun control. Each had a studied and thoughtful approach. They were, decidedly, NOT of one mind. They were engaged in a “judge-free” discussion and I learned a lot. I did wonder at the time if they knew how lucky they were to be able to do that but that’s another matter.
Then one singled out a candidate and said: “She needs to “style-up.”
Whoa, I thought. They just morphed into a whole other level of debate.
Apparently, there was more than one die-hard feminist in the group. Those women, of course, took the position that “styling up” was frivolous and silly. Stick to the issues, they said. Surely, we’ve moved beyond this.
The other side suggested that if clothes make the man, then why not the woman? Image counts, they said. So do first impressions. This is important stuff we’re talking about here.
Those in the middle were busily hedging their bets.
It was a vigorous debate and I was enjoying every minute of it.
On and on they went. Civilly agreeing to disagree. Honoring and respecting one another’s opinions. They were friends with differences.
Then a chill wind woke me from my pleasant little nap. And that, as they say, was that.
Beach chair painting by Vic Mastis