Waiter Confidential: Mr. Poker Face

I suppose there are some tried and true secrets to making relationships work. And while I won't toss out altruisms here, I'm sure openness and honesty are great policies to employ to that end. But as evidenced by a conversation I listened-in on last night at work, I'm as convinced as ever that you can't always lay every card on the table, even if that someone sitting opposite you knows exactly what you're holding onto.

"So, explain this solitaire situation to me again," A certain Mrs. sounded pretty insistent with her man of the house.

"It's an online thing, Sharon. What's your point?"

"Let me rephrase, Jake: Explain the attraction."

Man of the House and I make eye contact. He's looking to me for something. I do what I can.

"Would either of you care for an after dinner drink?"

"Could you just give us a few minutes, please?" The Mrs. is terse, not thirsty.

"You're on your own, Pal," I let the gentleman know in a gesture, shrugging subtly from just over the lady's shoulder. Then, I start straightening up my station around them to stay within earshot, and it pays off.

"Go ahead, Jake. You were about to tell me what's so fascinating about computer solitaire."

"What? I enjoy it. I like solitaire. So what?" Forced to play on, he keeps things pretty close to the vest.

"No, Jake. You love solitaire. You play it a lot. And I've woken up a few times while you've been playing solitaire late. I know you lock that door, and I can hear you clicking around."

Now, the real name of the game Jake's been busying himself with is pretty much out there. For a moment, he just sits staring at Sharon stone-faced, contemplating, I assume, whether to bluff or fold.

"Just say it, Sharon," Jake calls.

"No more solitaire. Not when I'm around, conscious or not," the Mrs. lays down the deal. "I know, 'boys will be boys,' but seriously, Jake. When I'm home, indulge some of your other hobbies."

Her point made and well-played, the Mrs. got up to- again, I assume- collect herself in the restroom, leaving little in the manly department for Mr. Man of the House to do.

"Can I get a check?" He called me over from where I'd been too obviously hovering and listening.

"Assuming you heard all of that, I've got to hand it to her," He confided, handing over his credit card, "She beat me at my own game."

"Could've been worse," I offered what consolation I could, from one card shark to another. After all, she might have actually caught him shuffling his deck.