Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Conditioned Response

Everyone is born with a gift. At least that's what I was telling Oliver the other day. He was fascinated by this concept and wanted to know what his gift is.

"You have the gift of resilience," I tell him. I observe that he is able to let a lot of things roll off his back and when they don't, it's not very long before he's back to himself again. I notice other gifts in him that we didn't talk about that day: he has a hearty spiritual constitution, laughs easily, has a very curious and keen mind and is able to persist long after others have given up.

Fast forward about a week. Grandma Briggs had loaned us her Outback while our car was in the shop and we were on our way home that night after returning it to her. Even though our car is running, it certainly has seen better days. I really enjoyed driving the Outback for the week and wondered how I could possibly put lipstick on the pig that is our own vehicle. Wanting an upgrade but not wanting to invest, I ask Brooks, "Do you think we can go to a junk yard and find some leather seats for our car like the ones your mom has?"

He laughs and says, "Yeah, if you want them to be all cracked and nasty."

"But your mom's car is the same year as ours and her seats are perfect."

"That's because my dad has religiously applied leather conditioner to them over the years to keep them in good shape."

"So how about you start putting fabric conditioner on our seats to keep them in perfect condition for me?"

This is funny to us primarily because I'm the reason the car interior, including the seats, is so pathetic. It's just me and the boys who use it 90% of the time so I take no pains to keep it presentable since the mess only bothers me once things start to smell. It's also funny because Brooks is nothing like his father when it comes to being fastidious about maintenance - not cars, not lawns, not anything - so the good-humored ribbing doesn't escape his notice.

"OK, I'll put some on right now," he jabs back and lifts his cheek to make a huge farting sound.

This really gets me laughing but not as much as what happens next. Oliver (who apparently has been listening the whole time) is duly impressed because behind me I hear him comment to himself, "Now that's a special gift!"


Kate said...

And the joke comes full circle, love it!

Liz said...

Laughing hard! We miss you guys!!