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Now the football is over, its time to turn to other pleasures, and (for me), there are few pleasures in the world to complete with a good hide.

At the reveal, when you appear in the room unexpected to your victim’s surprise and (hopefully) amusement, there’s the twin joys of having got one over on someone and the pleasure at seeing their reaction to that duplicity. It’s a wonderful thing, and a thing that the non-hiders amongst you won’t be aware of. Try it. You don’t have to go to town doing it, but next time you get chance, squirrel yourself away somewhere (behind some curtains, maybe) and then appear after a while of having left someone in the room on their own.

The key, of course, to good hiding is not just a good hiding place. The key to good hiding is patience. A hiding place is only as good as the length of time you’re willing to spend in it, and the most disguised of places are generally the most uncomfortable, and the ones in which you’re most likely to give yourself away. Hiding, I would say, is not to be used when somebody is in pursuit of you for this reason. However covert you may be, it takes only a hunch from your pursuer for your cover, and that hunch to be followed up, to be blown completely.

That’s why I’m not keen on hide and seek. When someone is
trying to find you, you’re better off moving than stationary.

True hiding, though, is all about the element of surprise. Look around the room you’re in now. A successful hider could be in that room. You would not know. The fact you’re coming to terms with the layout, getting comfortable with the set-up of the room, is the hider’s weapon. Once you’re settled, calmly doing whatever it is you do in a room, comes the window of hiding opportunity. Within a second the hider can be unveiled, leaping from (for example) a cupboard unexpectedly to much mirth and merriment as your state of calm is punctured.

There is a disadvantage to me telling you this. If a hide is even suspected, then it is entirely negated – you expect a surprise, and that removes any chance of a surprise. That’s where the hider’s patience comes in. A good hider wouldn’t just wait for you to come in and sit down before the reveal. You’d come in, sit down, turn on the TV, flick a bit, find a programme, be watching it for three or four minutes, and then would come the reveal. You would be shaken from your comfortable mind-space then, even if only for a moment – and it should only ever be for a moment. Hiding should not be malicious, it should cause a moment of panic followed by a positive reaction; as such, you shouldn’t hide when people will be eating or drinking, else things may be spilt, which is annoying and inconvenient.

The truth of the matter is that I am a hider. Throughout my life I see places I could disappear, walls that would provide cover, unusual building features that would allow me to avoid detection. If you know me, you’ll probably have known me to do it. Sadly, the fact I’ve done it a lot means that the element of surprise can be somewhat lacking when I hide – people expect me to be hiding if I’m not where I ought to be. I now have to hide in places before people realise I’m there. It means I hide less often than I used to, which might be a good thing, because I enjoy it all the more.

Hiding is, I would say, one of few things I enjoy as much as an adult as I did as a child. If you haven’t hidden for a while, I think you should give it a go.