At one point the Sober Husband agreed to indulge me in a game of badminton, and the badminton-loathing children decided to play ping pong instead. There are several ping pong tables, scattered throughout the trees near the mess hall, out of sight from the badminton court, which is in a sort of valley behind the general store. We played badminton for a long time, getting a good workout, eventually joined by our offspring, who said nothing about their ping pong match.
The next day Lola reported to me what happened. "So we were playing ping pong, and I got tired of picking up the balls. So the next time one went out, I didn't pick it up. And Iris said, 'Lucy, get the ball,' and I said I was tired of it. So she looked at me like this [commanding gaze], and I looked at her like this [one eyebrow lifted]. And we waited. Then Iris had to go to the bathroom, and she said she expected when she returned to see the ping pong ball had been picked up, and I looked around and found another one. So when she got back, she said, 'I see you picked up the ball', and I showed her that ball was still on the ground. Then we played until that ball went on the ground, and then neither of us would pick it up. So we were staring at each other. Then Phil (a family friend) walked by, and he gave us a ball. So we played until THAT ball went on the ground. And then we decided to go watch you play badminton."
We saw Phil and his family later, and I told Lola to tell the full story to them. Afterward, Phil said reflectively, "In my version of that, I was much more active. I was like a hero."
"Instead, you were a pawn in the Iris-Lola conflict," I said.
I think we are ALL pawns in the Iris/Lola conflict.
I'm pretty sure I like that friend Phil.
The hardest course I ever took in college was a pass/fail class in badminton. That instructor was a drill sergeant.
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