Monday, May 18, 2009

Bowled Over

LK and I have developed what I think is a pretty good pattern for surviving our retirement years. We tend to be together, but do separate things.

Some of it is just distribution of labor. I make the bed; she sleeps in it. I make the coffee; she drinks it. I push the shopping cart; she fills it. I get hungry; she feeds me. I wear my underpants; she washes them.

There are other times, though, when we are both ostensibly doing the same thing - say, watching a TV show - and are doing entirely different things. I will be playing poker online, for example, and she will be checking out the forum at Cruise Critic. You can tell because inevitably one of us will say "What was that they just said?" and the other one will say "I don't know. I wasn't listening."

We both have some things we do that the other does not. (OK, I am exempting bodily functions for this paragraph.) Linda reads voraciously and researches all sorts of things relevant to our new retired life. I exercise on the Wii, take walks, blog and play online poker most days. I know that doesn't sound like the most exciting life, and obviously LK agrees because she has opted out of all of these, preferring a third cup of coffee to the downward-facing dog.

But there is one thing we do together. I would never have predicted it in a million years, but every Sunday afternoon for the past three months we have bowled against one another on the Wii. Linda is much better at it than I am, and the harder I try the worse I get. So I have done the obvious thing. I now coach her so I can share some of the glory when she bowls a fantastic score and I discover why she is ranked about 20% higher than me.

I also help her maintain her high ranking. If she has a split or just plain misses a spare, I usually just restart the game so her rating stays where it is. As a competitor, you would think I would be happy to have a chance to finally get a score somewhere in the vicinity of hers. But I have made the clear choice that I will do better as coach, riding on her coattails, than I will ever do by winning the odd game or two.

It does have its risks, though. Yesterday she got a split and couldn't convert to a spare. I hit restart only to have her say in her most disbelieving voice, "But I had five strikes in a row before that!" She felt her ranking would have improved despite the missed split. And I learned another lesson. Not only am I not as good a bowler as she is, apparently I don't even cheat all that well either.

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