Time tends to become irrelevant on vacation, yet can still be a point of curiosity. The clock on the dashboard of the 1997 Chevy Tahoe read 4:56, as we left our morning jaunt to the beach. We had no idea how many hours and minutes to add or subtract for the correct time. We reserved our higher math skills for interpreting the tide chart. My stomach was growling, but that was not necessarily a reliable indicator that an actual meal was approaching. As we rumbled down the road, packed into the slightly shaky and mighty sandy beach mobile, with a sun-bleached crab as our compass, I asked around for the time. It was 12:28, and thankfully lunch was in fact near.
My father provided an elaborate explanation of why the clock was off, and how the battery was no longer being drained during dormant times. We all understood, but I seemed to be the only one interested in why the clock was never reset. I took matters into my own hands, no pun intended, as the clock was digital. My declaration of success was interrupted by my brother’s voice from the back seat.
“I bet you that in twenty-four hours the time is wrong again.”
“Excuse me?” (Did he think I couldn’t set a clock?)
Suddenly my husband’s voice chimed in, “I’ll take that bet.”
I felt a small sense of pride that my husband supported me, but felt compelled to double check. “Whose side are you betting on?”
“I’m with Mike.”
Clearly these men were blind to the fact that I bet against myself all the time. I found myself offended by the thought that they did not think I could accurately set those straight lined digits. I demanded to know what was at stake. What did I stand to lose by siding with myself?
“One small order of onion rings.”
Oh the coveted Liam’s snack shack onion rings of Nauset Beach…mmmmm. I paused to consider whether or not I would have to purchase two orders if I lost, but then realized that if I won, two orders would be mine. I needed to have some faith in myself.
My children could be heard muttering about their best chances to be aligned with the victor. Any supportive words were merely a selfish ploy to find their hands greasy with batter.
“I cannot believe you guys are betting against my ability to set a clock!”
I swear I do not know how to take things, other than personally, much of the time. I hid my surprise as I slowly began to understand that they were betting against the car. I was so gung-ho to stand up for myself that I failed to grasp the notion that I had put my chances for fried delight in the dashboard of a sixteen-year old tank.
I started sputtering exceptions and exclusions like, “If any young children are seen in the front seat of this car in the next twenty-four hours, all bets are off!” I felt a little thrill at the risk I had taken, while realizing this meant I should probably get out more often.