Monday, April 11, 2011

Never Play Gin with a Maniac

Gray Sunday yesterday. Gray weather. Gray mood. Gray reflection in mirror. Even Gray Buzzy snoring on a chair.

How to spend the afternoon?

TV? Tempting, but no---too much of that already. Read a book? Nah, requires too much focus. Finish crocheting the afghan that just needs some fringe to be complete? Not until I get the cortisone shot in my wrist next week. Taunt the cats? Possibly. Call the boys? Hmmm, I've been a pain in their asses lately so no. Play cards with my husband? Wow, we haven't done that in years!!

Let's go!

I clear the kitchen table of all the old mail, newspapers, magazines, catalogues, pens, vitamin bottles, coffee mugs, flyers, take-out menus, scraps of paper and cats. Seth runs to put on some music. It's a perfect day for some sleepy George Jones and his mournful love 'em and leave 'ems. I make herbal tea for me, Seth grabs a beer.

So far so good.

Now the search for cards. There's an old deck in the drawer. It turns out to have belonged to my mother and I am suddenly awash in memories of her sitting at the table in a snap coat, wearing her usual smile and playing solitaire. So, of course, I must take a break for a good solid cry. Seth, not unfamiliar with this sort of episode, pops the beer and waits until the sobs subside.

We decide it's chilly and go get sweatshirts. I stop to comb my hair, noticing my resemblance to a porcupine as I pass a mirror and we sit, finally ready to play.

After staring at the cards for a few minutes as if we've never seen cards before, we decide on Gin Rummy--simple but fun.

Neither of us remembers the fine points of the game. Seth rushes off to google it. He comes back flourishing no less than five printed-out pages which we proceed to read and disagree with. After finally reaching a compromise about how we prefer to play, Seth shuffles and deals. The cats are curled up nearby, George Jones is crooning softly, my tea is delicious and a light drizzle has begun, increasing the cozy factor in the kitchen. Bliss.

Then I lose the first hand. No problem. It's only the first hand. I can turn this around. But I can feel the pout lines forming around my lips and suddenly remember what an incredibly sore loser I am.

I wasn't always a sore loser. But early in our courtship and marriage I discovered that Seth, normally calm and measured, happens to be a deranged winner. Upon vanquishing me at cards, Monopoly or anything else, he flies into sneering, twirling bouts of unmitigated glee. This includes nose-thumbing, crazy laughter, full-out gloating and occasional fits of air guitar.
I have to listen to this kind of thing
This pushes me right off the very unstable tightrope of maturity upon which I teeter, giving me little choice but to respond by transforming into a card-slamming, monopoly token (I prefer the shoe) hurling, foul-mouthed witch.

Several hands in, as Seth triumphed, taking breaks to pirouette about the house (and where he found the confetti, I'll never know) I simmered in my own juices, remembering why we hadn't played cards in years.

Hence our peaceful day ended. I slapped together some dinner and we adjourned to different corners--him with "60 Minutes" and me with the Sunday crossword and a very bad attitude.

Next week, it's reruns of" Antiques Roadshow" for us.


  1. You could've been with me on Saturday. It was 97. BTW- What's a snap coat?

  2. Hey, Miss Michele--A snap coat is a little housecoat/robe thing that snaps all the way down the front. My mama loved them in her later years.

  3. It sounds like you need a dose of sunshine! Grey days are difficult aren't they - I think they sap your strength :-) I refuse to play games with Rick - that man can cheat at a jigsaw puzzle!!!