"Are you competitive?" Coleen asked me this morning as we set out on our walk. I noted her mischievous grin, much too excited for 8:14AM. She was obviously eager to let me in on her newest plan. Coleen always has a nice plan and it always involves friends and fun. I need her. I am way too inclined to rearrange some plastic lawn furniture on my front porch, put a vase of pink hydrangea cut from my back yard on the flimsy matching table/footstool, grab a book and a cup of herbal tea and call it a full-blown summer vacation extravaganza. Or "staycation" as a friend recently said. If a neighbor walks by and gives a friendly wave, all the better, it fulfills my social activity quota for the day. But Coleen, she actually invites people to her house in droves, she feeds them her favorite recipes, she schemes to fix up her divorced friends with her other divorced friends at her Fourth of July barbeque, she says things like, "Hey, I'm painting my shed this weekend. Come over and help me!" I would never say those words. I went though and was happier for it.
"Yeah, I can be competitive if the mood strikes," I admitted, "what are you up to now?" "Well, Andrea and Diane have been playing tennis in the mornings and I say we challenge them to a match at the end of the summer. And I want to beat them." "Well so do I," I replied surprising myself, already envisioning my serves soaring by them as they swatted the air and flopped around the court helplessly like foolish cartoon characters. "Do you play?" she asked. "Nope." "Neither do I," she continued, unaffected. "But I'm sure we could beat them, they don't know how to play either. So we'll practice on Friday instead of walking. It'll be good for our arms," she announced as we parted on the corner an hour later, sucking on our iced lattes. "What if I'm better than you?" I lobbed playfully, my competitive blood really stirring now. "I don't care! You're on my team!" We walked in our opposite directions teammates now, with a mission. Andrea and Diane are going down.