Am experiencing a bit of housewife panic on this fine Wednesday morning. I have just returned from my very strenuous tennis lesson and now I have to figure out how I’m going to feed a dinner party full of cyclists tonight. Fiftten people, to be precise – including a few cycling side-kicks like myself, thank God. Because when I say “cyclists” I don’t mean people who like to hop on their bikes for a spin along the Braamfontein Spruit or who sometimes head to Northern Farms for a family outing. No, I mean psychotic people who do things like the Cape Epic (8 days) and the Panorama Tour (4 days) and other crazy events where you're on your little two-wheeler for over 100km per day – i.e. the real butt-numbing stuff. Which is fine if that’s what makes them happy – just don’t torture me.
Which brings me to the reason for my panic. The Husband has this thing that he does when we’re in the company of uber-sporty people. He knows full well that he’s married to the girl who did aerobics as her compulsory school sport. (Seriously, I’m not even kidding about this. York High in George was surprisingly progressive back in the ’90’s). Anyway, I think that The Husband really is okay with the fact that he married Aerobics Girl and not Iron Woman.
Except when we're in the company of uber-sporty people. Often, "this thing that he does" happens when we're with The Husband’s super sporty clients. The conversation will be flowing between The Husband and these uber athletes – it’ll be about the Comrades, Iron Man, the Argus, the Two Oceans – any, or all, of those good things. Then the one client will describe their best ever Iron Man time and The Husband will talk about his latest cycle race and another client will bemoan his Comrades injury. And then – even though I’ll be doing a great job of pretending to be fascinated by the topic – The Husband will do something to to try and prove that (contrary to all indications) his wife is not a total couch potato. "The thing" goes like this:
"Natalie's run a half marathon".
There is dead silence and I can see the bankers trying not to spit out their drinks in disbelief. By now everyone is staring at me and I'm wanting to crawl under the table, but I have to be polite so instead I splutter:
"Er, yes. Once. Once upon a time, really. Never again, though! Hahahahahaha."
And then I down my glass of wine in an act of defiance. But at this point, The Husband has only just got going and invariably he starts banging on about my one and only sporting achievement. Which wouldn't be so bad, except that he's telling some of the most hardcore sporting psychos out there – people for whom a half marathon is a weekend training run. What's worse is that he's been dining out on this story for two years now and I get the distinct impression he'll be doing so for the next few decades. That's practically a given, because I doubt I'll ever subject myself to another half marathon (I really feel like I've ticked that box).
I can just picture one of The Husband's client functions in 2025. "Natalie's run a half-marathon!" he'll announce proudly during a sporty discussion. "Really? When was that?" one of the polite clients will ask and I'll have to mumble into my wine glass, "Er, I think it was 2008". And then the client will do the Maths and there'll be an awkward silence amongst everyone except for The Husband who'll be trying to remember my time for this historic event.
I fully expect tonight to be one of these nights. Although The Husband's plan is to plough these Sporty Spices with his signature drink: The Great South African Suitcase. Over the years, The Husband has successfully exported the GSAS to at least 6 countries – from Scandinavia to Singapore. Granted, passion fruit has often had to be replaced with OJ, but the effect is the same – he gets the party started.
I wonder what you get when you cross 10 super fit, uber athletes with 40 suitcases? I guess I'll soon find out…