Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pay attention

I went home for lunch today; it's only ten minutes from the office, and my wife's not at work until the 28th, so it was a nice opportunity to see her in the middle of the day. Usually I'll stagger through the door at 7pm, groggy from a day of staring at screens and largely unfit for human interaction. Today I bounced through the door with a spring in my step, proud to have dodged a rainstorm by moments and infected with the inaccurate joy you obtain from stealing an hour of time from your employer, even if it's the lunch hour you're entitled to.

(I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before, but a job can do strange things to your mind.)

When I don't go home, the sum total of my human interaction at lunchtimes is telling somebody I want one sandwich rather than another; it's rather more satisfying to actually have a conversation, in between seeing how much cheese I can fit in my mouth without chewing.

However, old habits die hard and before I knew it, we were both sat on the sofa, my wife playing with her tablet while I fired up the computer to look at things of little consequence. This would not do. I have ten hours a day in the office to stare at things that don't particularly interest me, I don't need to do it at home too.

I had a brainwave: we could do something together. You know, like people used to, before they had the internet to chase disappointment across. I pandered to my wife's weakness and suggested we play a game of crib.

My wife enjoys crib because she's good at it, I'm not, and I'm also a terrible loser. She enjoys seeing me get in a big bubble when the cards inevitably fail to go my way, so at least one of us is guaranteed to have fun.

Most games of crib we've played I've been skunked: a rout, where my wife's counters are right round the board before I've even started. My clumsy inability to shuffle cards or even count my score just highlights my ineptitude.

Today I was getting lucky, and just about kept up with my wife, until I ballsed up my deal and she streaked ahead: in the final hand, she advanced to the very end of the board, 11 spaces ahead of me. As long as she could score a single point, she'd win. I'd have to score 12 points on the last hand, and the chances of that were...

Slightly better than drawing two sevens and two eights, which let me snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, before lurching around the room and beating my chest like the first baboon to get a job as a bunko artist. I'd won.

And I'd remembered to actually do something with my wife, instead of slump on the sofa like a soulless automaton. I lolloped back to work, full of cheese and cheer, and the afternoon fled past without a hitch. Happiness can be a matter of being with who you love, as long as you remember to pay attention.

Oh, and walking along the street I saw a woman clutching an umbrella that the wind had blown completely inside out. There's nothing like a bit of schadenfreude to lighten your day.


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