When Kurt was a little boy and struggled to entertain himself, sometimes the old man, in one of those last-ditched, desperate parental attempts to get five minutes peace, would resort to what we called the ‘timing game’.
I’m sure most of you parents will have resorted to this type of game with your kids at the park or on the beach at some point.
It happens after you’ve played the beach cricket and survived the tantrum, been forced to swim in sub-zero degrees water for so long your circulation has seized up, caved in on the ice cream in spite of your concerns about sugar and they’ve dropped it on the ground within the first minute, and you’ve finally run out of ideas.
But your child is still running around like the fucking Duracell bunny on speed.
(We didn’t have iPads in our day), so in desperation we’d suggest that they run somewhere. It made sense – the kids wore themselves out and we got that precious five minutes of peace to recharge. The run might be to the end of the beach or park, to the playground, or even to the next suburb if we were really frazzled. And what was the appeal to child, I hear you ask?
*Drumroll* WE TIMED THEM.
Because kids really ARE that stupid.
Kurt always fell for the timing game, and upon reflection, I think I was sucked in by it only yesterday morning.
I’ve become a bit of an ill-tempered toddler when I’m on the beach these days. I love the concept of sunbathing and relaxing on the beach, when I’m not there, but beach reality for me is that the heat of the sun inflames my Rosacea, lying on lumpy sand hurts my back, the water is still far too cold to swim in and my self-esteem takes a nosedive when I’m forced to wear swimmers publicly.
And it doesn’t help that we always seem to sit next to Elle fucking MacPherson.
But the biggest issue for me is if you don’t like sun-bathing, there’s fuck all to do on the beach, and I hate doing nothing. So I can’t help myself. I become that irritating, whinging child.
“Is it time to go yet?”
“What shall I do?”
“Can I have something to eat?”
The old man, on the other hand, has never had a problem doing nothing, loves the challenge of cold water and ogling semi-clad younger woman and is not anxious like me, therefore doesn’t see the sun in the same way, as a cancer threat.
Yesterday morning, I actually WALKED to the beach in an attempt to wear myself out, while he drove the car there. I had packed my cossie and tried to look at the padded fabric at the front (for maximum muffin top concealment) positively and set myself up under the beach brollie in readiness for some serious relaxation. It took about three minutes for me to wonder what to do with myself, which is when I started moaning,.. and then I might have moaned some more when sand got stuck to my sun cream and I couldn’t read from my phone due to the glare from the sun.
‘I’ve got an idea,’ said the old man, suddenly uncharacteristically excited, ‘why don’t you walk to the end of the beach and see how many steps of your fitness target you use up?’
The old man and I are currently competing fixated on walking 10,000 steps per day, the recommended amount for fitness.
His suggestion sounded appealing. I couldn’t think what the catch could be.
‘And I’ll time you,’ he added.
Instantly energised, I jumped up like a puppy dog off to chase a brand new ball. And it was only after I had trudged all the way to the end of the beach in the searing heat that it dawned on me that the old man was playing ‘the timing game’.