Dear George Soros
Thank you on behalf of us would be democrats across the pond for donating nearly $50 million towards November elections to help get the democrats back into power. As the widow of an American, with three American sons and American family and friends I follow American politics closely and pray – although I am not a religious woman – that Trump does not get reelected. But I fear prayer is not going to be enough.
Which is why I have a request. And I know it is a big ask as you have already dug deep. The American postal service needs your financial support. As you know Congressional Democrats have called for an investigation into decisions made by the head of the US Postal Service (USPS), which they say have slowed deliveries ahead of the election. Look I am not pointing fingers here afterall what do I know, but the Republican donor who took over USPS in June is the first postmaster general in nearly 20 years to be appointed from outside the agency! And the changes he has made, I am told, threaten “the timely delivery of mail – including medicines for seniors, paychecks for workers, and absentee ballots for voters,” well that is according to Ms Pelosi and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer.
I no nothing about how this system works and also obviously whether you are even allowed to inject money into the postal service, but it is just a thought which came to me while walking the dog in the park. It is where much of my thinking happens at the moment. And indeed where I seem to meet an interesting eclectic bunch of individuals. They keep me grounded and lift my spirits.
John is in his mid fifties, good looking, fit, a sort of happy go lucky kind of fella – well one might think that when you first meet him . But looks can be deceiving as John has stage 4 lung cancer, his future is bleak and he is in constant pain. I am always amazed how some people triumph in adversity. Rather than the woe is me attitude he just gets on with it.
“You look great,” I say to John. He is tanned and dressed in jeans and a white tea shirt. He’s the kind of man that if he wasn’t married and I was looking for a partner I could fancy. “I have always looked well,” he said, “right from the start when I got the shock news that I had lung cancer. People sometimes find it hard when they see me and can’t quite believe that I am so sick.”
We talk about his treatment, which had been delayed because of COVID, his prognosis, his family and I marvel at his demeanor. “I just need to get on with it – nothing else I can do and I am ever hopeful,” says John. While we keep our distance our dogs sniff each other appreciatively, have a little circle and we move on.
I know people in the park by their dogs and its a great conversation opener. What breed is your dog? How old? Is she friendly? Can my dog have a play? Sadly I usually answer the latter with “she’s a bit old and grumpy now and not really into playing.” But then we move on to more interesting topics. It is where I get a lot of my recommendations for films, books etc. It’s a kind of creative park club.
So a few days ago Michael, the economist, who has a Labrador and is really enjoying not having to commute to the city, recommended Sour Grapes a Netflix documentary that traces twenty something Rudi Kurniawan’s ascent to the inner sanctum of the fine wine connoisseurs in America. Michael who is a bit of a wine connoisseur and often gives me a few tips, thought I might enjoy it.
Rudi is a naive young man with a penchant for fine wine, who thinks he can compete with the big boys. Soon he is seen to be spending millions of dollars every month on wine with the high rollers at wine auctions. But all is not what it seems….. These men — and it is nearly always men, well I think women would have more sense – have cellars worth millions of pounds – they spend tens of thousands of pounds on a single bottle of wine. This to someone like me who balks if I have to spend more than a tenner on a bottle, was a real eye opener.
It reminded me of my wedding party in Cambridge at the house of close friends. On the eve of the wedding I made spaghetti bolognese for everyone. I had ordered 36 crates of fairly cheap white and red wine – we didn’t have much money back then – and went into their larder to grab a red one for dinner. Apparently it came out years later that Thomas, my friend’s husband was also a connoisseur of wine and he had been saving a particular bottle of red to open on a very special occasion, like his son’s 21st, or their 50th wedding anniversary, and it just so happened that it was the very bottle that I had grabbed thinking it was one of my cheapies to guzzle down with the spaghetti. Amy said that he was so angry he couldn’t look at me but as it was my wedding she made him promise not to say anything. The worst of it I think was that we unknowingly unceremoniously gulped it down. It has taken years maybe 30, for us to sit down and have a civil conversation about this bottle. And even now I can see him twitching when we discuss it.
The great thing about my park friends is that after a recommendation we meet and discuss the programmes. I had recommended to Michael a BBC Sounds radio series about Anna Delvey alias Anna Sorokin a magazine intern, who conned New York high society into believing that she was a multi millionaire heiress who was due to come into a trust fund of $67 million on her 26th birthday.
We shared our thoughts about how could these people sleep at night and that how most of us at some time felt like impostors. You know that well known syndrome when we act and look as if we know what we are doing when, in fact, we feel as if we are pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, deceiving others about our real capabilities and even our true identities. Clearly these two con artists had no such qualms.
I wonder what John would think about this ? Will have to ask next time we meet.