which case we have an arrangement. His life is a series of mini competitions; he is regularly pitting his wits against other men in a series of mystery races and events.
My best example of this came only last week when we were enjoying a family holiday at Center Parcs. You may be familiar with the set up; cars are allowed on at 3pm on day of arrival to unload, but are then returned
to the car park for the duration of the stay. At the end of the break the car park opens at 7am so you can drive your car to the villas to load up and you have to return the car to the car park by 10am. All very straightforward, until you add in competitive men. We had pool booked for 2.30pm and ten pin bowling booked for just after 3pm, which was fine and meant we could avoid the mad 3pm rush and pop along to get the car later on. My husband was a little twitchy at this, but appeared to accept the proposed plan. That was until there was an unplanned fire alarm in the main building at 2.30. Suddenly there was an opportunity that the gate might be open early to let the fire brigade in and the distraction may have put others off the competition. My husband made an instant decision, hopped on his bike and pedalled off to get the car. He reported back forty five minutes later that he wasn’t the first in the queue, but he did beat many others. He was also very pleased to get pole position outside the villa, so we had very little walking to do to transfer our luggage. This was done at high speed and he was away back to the car park to get the best parking space. He came back a happy man having found the perfect place to leave the car for an easy get away on departure day. He looked pitying at the other men as they crawled along desperately trying to find a place near to their villas to unload. He had won round one.
We had a lovely holiday where he was the archetypal dad, playing with our daughter, going swimming, doing the water chutes, roller skating and having loads of fun without any hint of being in a competition. Well there was a hint in the ten pin bowling when he punched the air when he got a
strike, but apart from that, his affliction was not noticeable. However, on
departure day he was up at 6.30am and had returned with the car before anybody crawled out of their pit. He was immensely proud of himself. He was visibly smug throughout breakfast, until the number of cars passing our villa started to increase and the villas near us started to load their
“Can I close the case? Can I put this bag in the car?” he asked as he
fidgeted from foot to foot and watched his lead in the competition ebb away. At this point it was barely 8.30am so we had plenty of time to pack up, but his agitation started to affect us all. He stood nose to the window, watching for loaded cars to pass the villa. Each one he announced to us, “there’s an audi, that’s going back to the car park and that Volvo too. The white BMW has just closed his boot I think he’s going now as well.” Eventually we caved when he announced that next door had loaded their car and left. His relief was visible, the luggage was all hurriedly flung into the boot and with a merry wave he joined the intermittent stream of cars and headed back to the car park. We met up with him at the bike return where he proudly announced “I’ve got a brilliant parking space, that white BMW has had to park miles away!” Which we all took to mean
that my husband was the winner!