I had my third bridge lesson yesterday. This is a game I have avoided all my adult life. In fact, all my childhood. So why I recently signed up with International Women in Portugal’s “Bridge Basics” group is unclear.

When I was growing up, my uncles often came by to play pinochle with my father. I had fun because they had fun, but the number of cards flying around the table–sometimes they played with 64 instead of 48–was overwhelming. And what were tricks and trumps? My brother and I played war. You each drew a card. The higher took the two. I could handle that.

As I got older and heard about bridge, it seemed way too similar to pinochle. That translated to intimidating. It’s not that I haven’t had a brush or two with the game. I confess to peeking at the Goren on Bridge column in the newspaper, but immediately switch to the crossword puzzle. Friends have tried to interest me in their passion, notably my buddy Carole Bennett, who not only teaches the game through the Santa Barbara Center for Lifelong Learning, but also competes in championship tournaments.

But I have to remember what cards are played? And count points? This for the woman who opens an account at a new bank when her checkbook won’t balance?

Having said that, I may be getting hooked. The others in my group are just starting, too, so I don’t feel threatened. Instead, I’m encouraged to continue.

I relate to the general sense of the game, and find parallels with marriage. For example, the first sentence of my handout says, “Bridge is a partnership game.” It goes on. “The challenge is to communicate with your partner…and understand what your partner is telling you.” I’ve had experience with that, for better or for worse.

There is also romance in the suit names: hearts and diamonds. I will conveniently skip clubs and spades.

As I think of it, the terminology might well apply to politics. There are bids, declarers, support, (and dummies and voids). We will have to wait and see how the cards are played out in the current game–which many consider a flat hand–to discover whether or not there will be no Trump.