AIDA AUSTIN: 'Guess Where I Am' - a game for cohabiting couples

It is 8.30am, on Saturday morning, but conditions are proving too adverse for a lie-in. 

This is because I am playing “Guess Where I Am!” (by default which incidentally, is how you always play it). I can think of better names for this game (“Thoughtless!!!” is my favourite) but here, I shall call it “The Toothbrush Game” for short. Many of you will be familiar with this game but if you aren’t, you should know that there are only a couple of easy rules which are as follows:

This game is best played by a cohabiting couple. The couple can be straight, lesbian, bisexual, whatever, just so long as one spouse is absolutely knackered and the other one well-rested/full of beans. Game props: a. electric toothbrush with fully charged battery; b. house with a bathroom (ideally en suite or failing this, as near as dammit).

To play: The knackered spouse lies in bed, trying to sleep in while the full-of-beans spouse canters around the house with his electric toothbrush. This forces the knackered one to guess the toothbrusher’s whereabouts by following the buzzing, droning noise as it shifts from room to room. FUN!!!

Most of the time, it is very easy to guess the toothbrusher’s whereabouts – particularly if the couple has less than perfect wall insulation or the toothbrusher has a tendency to hum loudly while he/she brushes their teeth. But sometimes this business is more confusing than you might think, what with the fact that the spouse doing the guessing is curled up into a ball and cross-eyed with exhaustion.

Here are some tips: If for any reason, you are finding it too difficult to locate your spouse just from the electric buzz alone, remember that you can use other sound effects (besides humming) to help you.

For example, a drawer squeaking and gentle rummaging sounds accompanied by prolonged buzzing could indicate that your spouse is trying to find a matching pair of socks while brushing his molars at the same time.

Or if you hear a peculiar slapping noise, followed by swearing, this probably means that your spouse is simultaneously trying to brush his teeth while pulling on cycling bib shorts with pingy lycra straps. If this is immediately followed by a small thud accompanied by buzzing emanating from the floor, it means his attempt has failed.

The sudden loud banging of a bedroom or bathroom door, followed by receding footsteps normally signifies that the game is over.

But not always.

This morning, after an extended game of “Guess Where I Am!” my husband’s footsteps recede. I turn over and close my eyes, but the buzzing persists. It is sort of echo-ey. And clattering.

It seems to be coming from somewhere on my right. On second thoughts, maybe it’s coming from my left. No, definitely my right. I shuffle into the bathroom to find the electric toothbrush buzzing around in the sink all by itself.

Its owner is nowhere to be seen. I turn off the toothbrush. I go downstairs. I walk into the kitchen. The kitchen is empty. I pass through it into the sitting room. My husband is sitting on the sofa in perfect pin-drop silence.

He is stock still, apart from his hand which is caressing Tilly the dog, very, very, gently on the top of her head. Tilly is curled up into a ball beside my husband. I note the rise and fall of her breathing. She is sound asleep. Stroke, stroke, stroke, goes my husband, his touch is as light and soundless as a feather.

When he sees me, he put his finger to his lips, lightening quick, his face a picture of deep-doggy-concern, and goes, “Shhh” very, very softly and entreatingly. “Tilly likes to be woken up gently in the mornings,” he whispers down at her, “don’t you Tilly?”

This is a game for a cohabiting couple, so long as one is knackered


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