It’s our fortnightly Tuesday afternoon cribbage session and, unusually, Mr B and I have been paired together.
we are kept strictly apart as the other members of our group believe – wrongly – that we must have developed some secret system of indicating to each other which cards we are holding in our hand and how we should play in order to trounce the opposition.
This is some way from the truth though Mr B does tend to show, through grimaces, short intakes of breath, sorrowful shakes of the head and the occasional mild expletive, when he considers that I have made a mistake. None of these expressions of regret
and / or exasperation can be considered in any way secret as they are visible to one and all.
This afternoon he adopted a different tack. On several occasions,
when I laid down my cards and calculated my score, he stayed completely, unnervingly silent. At first I thought this might be because he was on the point of dozing off then I twigged that he was waiting patiently for me to realise that I had made a mistake
in my calculations. It’s called the Silent Treatment, I think. I am pleased to report that, despite a few miscalculations, we won both our games quite easily, leaving our opponents convinced that we did, indeed, have a secret code between us. We have
decided to allow our cribbage colleagues to continue with this misconception....
In order to get to cribbage on time, I had had to rush home from a morning
meeting which went on a little longer than I had expected. The bus home was crowded and I only just managed to get a seat, squashed in between a large man who was devotedly checking his emails on his phone and a sweet lady carrying so many bags of shopping
that they kept slipping off her lap and onto mine. I made myself as small as possible so as not to invade either neighbour’s space, their need obviously being Greater Than Mine.
No such considerations swayed another passenger, a young woman wearing a Canadian baseball cap (well it is Canada Day, didn’t you know?) who had taken it upon herself to ask a young mother sitting across the aisle from
her a number of somewhat direct questions.
“Do you have any other children?” she began. The object of her inquisition said no, just the one, indicating
a golden haired scrappit in the push-chair which she had cleverly manouvered into the space for wheelchair and push-chairs.
“Does she have a dad?”
asked the Nosey One. The rest of us winced at the directness of the question and tried to pretend that we hadn’t heard it and weren’t in the least bit interested in the answer. The young mum, with enormous forbearance, answered sweetly that,
yes, there was a father on the scene. The questioning continued in much the same vein so that by the time the young mum alighted from the bus, we all knew that it was her husband’s birthday on Friday, what she was buying him, where they would be celebrating
and who would be baby-sitting. The golden-haired angel in the push-chair volunteered further classified information about her father’s age, his favourite food and the fact that he is follically challenged.
A woman on crutches struggled onto the bus. I was about to spring up and offer her my seat but I was beaten to my Intended Good Deed by another passenger – who turned out to be probably the oldest
person on the bus, an elderly woman with wispy grey hair and skin as white as parchment. Why do so many able-bodied people stay seated leaving it to the old and infirm to assist each other? I asked myself.
I then answered my own question with yet another question. How did I know how many other people were, like me, all prepared to leap from their seats? As with Mr B and I at the cribbage table, there were no secret signals,
no indication of any kind of plan to deal with the problem of a passenger needing a seat on a bus with no seats to spare. It is perhaps surprising that the Direct One did not demand loudly: “Who is going to give up their seat for this person in need?”
Instead she stayed silent, possibly because she didn’t want to give up her own seat, though it is extremely uncharitable of me to even think this.
I do love bus travel. It is rare indeed to have
a journey without any interesting incidents.
Perhaps, like the Direct One, I am just plain nosey...