While other hip young couples make bets involving juicy prizes such as naked internet photos, Fatty and I bet for prizes such as a week's worth of him cooking (in the event that I win) or a week's worth of me loading the dishwasher and washing up pots (if he wins). Personally I am happy in the knowledge that even if I lose, I will only suffer for about ten minutes each evening. If Fatty loses, he will labour for at least an hour to complete his chosen task. (*wicked, cackling laughter*)
I can't say we make bets often. It's not something we do to pass the time or anything. It's more that occasionally we are each so convinced that the other is terribly, horribly mistaken. We look at each other incredulously. We roll our eyes in synchrony. We splutter, "No WAY!". We each say, "I'm sure ......."
What usually clinches it for me is when Fatty laughs at me. He becomes so utterly certain of his Total Rightness that he laughs like a tolerant parent. And that is when I offer to bet. Because I need him to pay for that patronising laugh, and I need him to pay up bigtime. He, of course, is only too willing to participate, because he knows he is right and has nothing to lose.
Last night, we had a bet. It was a very nerdy bet, but it had to be made.
Fatty and I were watching a DVD together, and I was eating a lot of chocolate - single piece by single piece so as to kid myself I wasn't eating much at all. The back door was open, and through it came the faint sound of tortured musical notes. "What is that?", I asked no-one in particular, and wandered out onto the back deck. I listened intently, as again the strangled notes of a badly-played violin came wafting our way.
"It's a kid, playing violin", I muttered, as I resumed my place on our lumpy old couch. Fatty looked at me, alarmed.
"A violin? Noooooo. No, it's some sort of woodwind instument. It's an oboe or something."
"An oboe? Are you kidding? I can hear the bowing! Go listen out back."
(Fatty stomps to the back deck purposefully, stand for a few seconds, and strides back to the couch decisively)
"It's an oboe. Can't you hear all the notes are precise? Can't you hear there are no 'bum' notes?"
*Now may be the time to mention here that Fatty is a talented pianist who plays beautifully. However, I played violin as a child and teen, and consider myself to be fairly musical, too. I may be totally crap as a violinist now, but I still consider myself able to recognise the sound of the damn instrument!*
Just as Fatty declared our child neighbour to have perfect pitch, a series of flat, howling notes issued forth from the house over the back.
"What do you mean there are no bum notes? Listen to that! They're playing flat! It's just one flat note after another!"
Fatty shook his head emphatically. "No, no. That's just from over-blowing. They're missing the notes by over-blowing." (Hello? Since when did you become a woodwind expert, Mr Pianist?!)
And then Fatty said something that sounded the death knell for any sort of sensible, non-betting behaviour. He said (and I quote directly): "Come back to the couch. And I don't want you to talk about it again".
My eyes bugged out. I grinned maniacally.
"Are you serious?", I spluttered, laughing at his daring, but outraged nonetheless. Fatty is usually a gentle man, but the dispute had brought out his alter ego, Fatty-the-Dictator (oh, and Mr Pianist, who I introduced to you earlier). " You can't tell me what to do like that!!"
Fatty smiled serenely from the couch, the dictator turned benign. I'm sure he just likes to test me now and then, to see if I'm still the feisty woman he married. To make sure I haven't turned into some sort of obedient banana-loaf-maker.
"Let's bet. Wanna bet?", I offered. I extended my hand.
"Sure!" Fatty agreed, eager to complete the topic neatly with a well-defined bet. "It's definitely an oboe. But how are you going to find out the truth?"
"I'll go over tomorrow and ask."
"You won't. I bet you won't!"
Who will win and who will lose? I truthfully don't know. I'm nervous, now, and less confident than I was last night - especially in the face of Fatty's complete certainty! But as my mother's partner likes to say......
All will be revealed in the fullness of time.