Posts tagged Shotgun Wars
I’d intended to blog about this the day of but, you know, life. Unfortunately, the result is I’m fuzzy on the details. I do remember the punchline though, so I’ll do my best.
The boy had woken up with a case of the runs. Not runs as in his “drawers”, rather runs as in “couldn’t stop running his mouth.” It typically manifests as a nearly endless series of verbal jabs at his sister on everything from the way she prepares her breakfast to her general existence. In extreme circumstances, he’ll get a tad physical with her as well. Usually that happens when she tunes out his verbal diarrhea. When he’s like that, he can’t stand not being acknowledged. Nothing too bad, kid’s stuff like blocking her from the refrigerator or taking “her” spot on the couch or out wrestling her for the remote.
It’s enough to tick me off though.
So after a steady stream of his antics coupled with my pushback, which increased disproportionately to his own efforts, he was in full retreat and had turned into a whiny mess. His sister never made any mistakes. She always gets all the breaks. She’s an evil-genius capable of manipulating probability fields such that he’s the one that gets in trouble.
Do I need to say “blah blah blah”?
So it was that, when it was time to head off to school, his sister was out the door like a shot. I’m guessing the chance to experience a few moments of quiet were part of the motivation. I envied her at the time. The boy was whining more now about how he had to turn off the TV and whatever other frustrations he had.
I followed him out the door and noticed that his feet had barely hit the sidewalk when he broke into a sprint for the car. He flung open the front-passenger door and dramatically dove into the car, slamming the door shut behind him. It all happened so fast I’d barely had time to stop and witness it.
Upon closer examination, I realized that his sister had been hiding in the back seat. He must have noticed that the shotgun position was available, thus the maniacal effort to obtain it.
I got to the car, climbed in and started up the driveway to bring them to school. I then asked the lass what was up. Why was she sitting in the back?
Her reply had to be like a stiletto between the ribs to the boy: “He was whining so much this morning that I let him have the front seat. I didn’t want to listen to him whine about the front seat.”
When last we wrote about The Shotgun Wars, the lass and the boy were locked in strategic gamesmanship, trying new tactics and countermeasures. Sadly, there have been no new tactics deployed of late and we’ve settled into some uneasy steady-state conditions.
I say “uneasy steady-state” because even though nothing new has developed, the prized passenger seat in the car is still hotly contested. Take this morning as an example. The boy was easily the first out the door. The lass was already in a bad mood and, realizing she’d be relegated to 3rd-world status sitting in the back, she tried to get me to referee. She wanted to know what car we were taking to school.
I simply replied it didn’t matter. I’m judging by the sound of her footsteps and the way the door opened and closed, my answer didn’t suit her. I called after her to just get in whichever car her brother was in, but I’m fairly certain she never heard me. It’s also quite probable she was just ignoring me.
Yes folks, even at the tender age of 7 she’s doing it. She’ll be a master by sometime this Summer, I predict.
So when I came outside, there was the boy in one car and the lass in the other. Nothing new there. I trudged around to the driver’s side of the car the boy was in. One more thing to irritate the lass this morning. Clearly, if she had me on her s**t-list, I wasn’t going to be off it anytime soon. (Even though she doesn’t know what it’s called, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have one. Her brother’s name is written in permanent ink.)
Once in the car, we had barely begun to move when the lass declared to her brother “This means I get to sit in the passenger’s seat on the way home.”
The boy voiced his opinion succinctly: “Yeah, yeah, whatever. I’m not listening to you.”
In a nasally, squeaky voice the lass snapped back “Nyeah nyeah nyeah ny-om not listening blah blah blah”. I can picture her head tilting back and forth which each syllable.
And so it goes.
My last entry in the Shotgun Wars was quite well received, with a number of people impressed at the lass’ ability to think outside the box. Her inventiveness is to be expected. She is physically inferior to her older brother and if she wants to compete, she has little choice but to resort to creativity. In general, we all play to our strengths and both of them are doing exactly that.
The boy is not without his own moments, though. For instance, take the lass’ ruse the other day where she attempted to fool him. He was suspicious enough that he came back into the house to check with myself. He knows his sister too well.
There was also a moment a week or so ago where he made a desperate, failed bid to beat his sister out. She was well ahead of him, within a few steps of the car. (I should note that the walk to the car from our front door is short, perhaps 25 feet from the door. When shotgun is on the line, however, 25 feet can be a long way.) I was behind her and the boy, at that freeze-frame moment of time, was still in the house.
What happened next took place in about the space of 3 seconds worth of time. The boy came flying out of the house in a dead-sprint. As I took my next step, the boy pulled even with me and I could see there was a sort of maniacal grimace on his face. In the next second or so, he was at the car and in the car through the rear passenger side door. He had arrived at the car more or less simultaneously with is sister, but he was in before her.
His plan was now clear, he was attempting to end run his sister by getting in the backseat and then climbing into the front seat from inside the car. It might have worked, but the lass recognized what he was doing and she quickly mobilized to get herself into the passenger seat. Even so, it was a close call and I heard the two of them giggling as they jostled a bit over the seat. She was in superior position, as he’d only gotten about half-way into the seat before she’d climbed in and she laid claim to the prize for the ride in to school.
So the boy is capable of some creative moments as well. He just hasn’t been pushed as much because he’s a little more on the ball when it’s time to head to the car. You don’t apologize for not successfully coming from behind when the majority of time you’re winning from in front.
Things have been heating up on both fronts since my last entry. The boy continues to use his superior physical assets to attain the prized position. The lass, in the meanwhile, has resorted to being quicker on the draw- if she’s at the car well ahead of her brother, he won’t try an all out frontal assault. My guess is he innately understands the Pyrrhic nature of such a victory.
Of the two, the boy does a better job of maintaining his composure when he loses. He betrays how deeply he wants it though with his running commentary to the effect that people younger than himself shouldn’t be allowed in the passenger seat. He also likes to poke the back of the seat.
The lass, for her part, wears her emotions on her sleeves. Well, no. Her mouth. She screams or whines or cries or some hideous combination of the three.
Heading out for errands today, it was a draw to the car. I had lagged behind because I was gathering a few things in preparation for heading out.
I must have taken longer than I thought, because the lass popped her head in the house.
“Dad, which car are we taking?”
I told her we’d take the big car, since we were going to be grocery shopping, amongst other things. The big car has the most room- otherwise it wouldn’t be the “big” car just the “light blue” car or something else mundane. As I finished up pulling things together, I had a fleeting thought: was the lass clever enough to pull a head fake?
Several seconds later, the boy poked his head in the house.
“Dad, which car are we taking?”
I couldn’t help smiling. “Why, didn’t your sister tell you?”
“Yeah, she said we’re taking the little car.”
It was all I could do not to laugh.
When I got outside, they were both struggling at the “big” car. So I walked straight over to the smaller car and got in.
The lass’ screams are still echoing throughout the countryside.