NO COUNTRY FOR MIDDLE AGED MEN, by James Doyle

I should have cleaned the windscreen. This is about my one hundredth time making this journey and about the hundredth time I have said this to myself. On the plus side it was the sunlight shining that highlighted the dirt and the forecast for weekend was promising.

On this occasion I was travelling alone so music was carefully chosen; Kevin Nolan, Leonard Cohen and Rosanna Cash, Dylan saved for the return journey. Cruise control set, the motorway section of the journey was pleasant,all the drivers seemed to be sharing my relaxed mood.

I stopped in Camolin at my favorite coffee stop, a petrol station/shop that serves a damn fine cup of coffee. While waiting in line to pay, I overheard couple in front of me wondering how they would get to their ferry to France later that evening. To my mind they seemed young liberal far left types hell bent on destroying the natural order of life on earth with their agenda, people I sometime despise.

Clumsy hands of mine dropped the coffee and it splashed over both of this couple’s legs, I muttered an apology and to make-up for my clumsiness I blurted out enough space in my car to take you to your ferry, at same time thinking damn, now I wont hear Rosanna Cash.

We got talking and to be honest they were beautiful people. The conversation somehow turned to philosophy and I said I was afraid of Nietzsche, well the little I knew of him anyway, and to my surprise they agreed with me with smiles on their faces that I was right to be wary. They then mentioned Spinoza, of whom I know even less than Nietzsche. For the rest of the journey I was enthralled by their knowledge and the philosophy of tolerance and benevolence that emulates from Spinoza.

Once again I had fallen into the trap of judging a book by its cover. I could have not been more wrong in my initial feelings about this couple.

A few hours were left before the ferry embarked, so we had a meal and few beers to kill the time. The couple told me a lot about themselves.  They mentioned they were to walk the Camino later in the year and were delighted when I told them I had walked it only a few months ago. They were like children with their excitement and asked me question after question about my Camino experiences. They asked me did I think a gay couple would have any issues on the Camino and seemed pleased when I told them that none of the gays I met there seemed to have any issues.

After they sailed off in to the sunset I was left with a nice mellow feeling, probably brought on by their gentle nature.

On my return journey Dylan was forgotten and it was Leonard Cohen; I still had Spinoza on my brain and thought Cohen better suited my reflective mood.

I stopped in Enniscorthy at my old haunt from my youth, The Antique Tavern. I noticed Colm Tobin sitting in a snug.  He looked to me like he was trying to pick winners from his newspaper as he sipped his americano. I ventured over and said hello and mentioned about knowing a fellow author that Colm had said good things about and also that I knew an old school buddy of his that was a friend of mine. He seemed pleased with the interruption and I joined him for a coffee. After discussing life, the universe and everything, I then related my story about the two hitchers I picked up. I was surprised when he asked me if they were married, of which I had no clue and then he told me he would dearly love to marry his partner in Ireland if the vote in forthcoming referendum allows it. I was too shy and dishonest to tell him my conservative views on how the vote should go.

On the motorway home and it was still full of good patient drivers or is that just my mood, but as I reflected on my journey down and back it became clear I would now have a lot of thinking to do between now and voting day.

When i got home I cleaned the windscreen.

James Doyle

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