Sunday, September 25, 2016

Reckless Bet

Normally I abstain from betting, but occasionally I can’t refrain from the possibility of winning. I never bet on anything that may mean the loss of money—in part because I’m not a good loser if it means parting with my money.

Although, I did go to the racetrack twice with my mother. We threw caution to the wind and each put twenty dollars into an envelope, enough to bet on all the races. Reckless was not a word I’d apply to either of us – instead apply the words cautious, restrained, hesitant, and deliberate.

We rarely bet a horse to win, instead chose place or show. Low risk bets. Winning twenty cents was fine. We chose our horses by consulting a racing sheet, but the horse’s name weighed heavily in the final decision. I looked upon the loss of all or most of the twenty dollars as the cost of several hours of entertainment.

Tonight, immersed in several projects, we both lost a sense of the time. Then a voice said, “Want to bet on the time? Whoever gets closer to the real time is the winner. Whoever loses collects the garbage.” Tomorrow is both garbage and trash day.

Because I lose sense of how long I’ve been at something and often am stunned by how much time has elapsed, the sensible response was no, I don’t want to bet.

Because I thought only of winning, of not disturbing myself, I chose to bet.

Because I did not know when I last looked at the time, because we ate a late lunch or early dinner, I floundered and took a stab in the dark, a spin of the wheel, and hoped for a miracle.

Neither Las Vegas or the deity of gamblers rewarded my gambling acumen. I lost by fifty-eight minutes.

I am, if not a good loser, at least someone who pays off debts. Dutifully I emptied each trash container and added the contents to a larger bag. Up went the garage door and out I went with an overstuffed bag—with its sticker. Then I repeated the journey with a large bin filled with glass bottles and plastic containers. ( We are drowning in plastic.)

Back and forth—bags of paper for recycling, checking to see the neighbor’s  bins, and finally inside. Debt paid.


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