Monday, June 20, 2011


Oh, great. Now we're never going
to get Stella to bed.
David is upstairs putting the kids to bed, and I can hear Stella trying to stave off bedtime by talk talk talking to David, and being super cute about it. Apparently her efforts are working, since it is way past her bedtime. Stella is something of an expert on manipulating David. Her favorite technique, when confronted with bed time, is to bat her eyes and say, "Daddy, will you show me your lap steel guitar?" Oh, sure, like David's going to fall for that incredibly transparent attempt!

Then forty minutes later I have to holler, "David, Stella, seriously, quit with the guitars already -- is really truly time for bed!"

David is also something of an expert when it comes to what he calls "defensive talking," by which he means doing a lot of talking in a desperate attempt to avoid an unpleasant or boring activity. Stella is doing defensive talking to try to avoid going to bed, but the best example of this occurred when David and I went to Hawaii several years back and attended a presentation about a timeshare. We had no interest in purchasing a timeshare but wanted to get the discounted helicopter ride they offered us. As I'm writing this, I'm really wondering about the wisdom of our course of action at the time, because a helicopter ride is not necessarily the best place to cut corners and go with the cheapest option. I'll buy the generic toilet paper every time, but when you're buying a helicopter ride it might be better to go with the name brand.

The timeshare presentation consisted of an agent who verbally bombarded us with the advantages of a timeshare, for two hours. I actually got a little worried because I know David likes to be able to tell people "yes," and we were certainly getting subjected to coercive sales techniques designed to get us to say yes.   And if we were going to blow a lot of money on something almost completely useless, then instead of a timeshare I would like to get a pony. And an in-house masseuse named Ralph.

Maybe the next time I try to put
Stella to bed, she'll ask me to tell her
about Hawaii.
At some point David got tired of being subjected to this verbal barrage, and started responding in kind. Only instead of trying to sell a timeshare to the agent, he started reminiscing about his time on the farm growing up, back in Fond du Lac or Stratford-on-Avon or maybe it was Terra del Fuego. I don't know, because I wasn't listening. I was crouched in the corner mentally covering my ears as the two talked past each other.

In the end, we managed to get out without buying a timeshare, and I was relieved to find out afterwards that David wasn't even considering capitulating. As part of the transaction, we got a discount on a fantastic helicopter ride over a volcanic crater and brand-new lava fields edged with black sand. We also got years -- I mean years -- of pleasure out of mocking the real estate agent's incredibly high pressures sales technique. In retrospect, the time share sales presentation was such an enjoyable part of our vacation that perhaps we should have paid her. Either that, or save up for a really high class masseuse, one named Sven.

1 comment:

  1. Time shares, got to love 'em. I have many clients who did say yes, and then I get the pleasure of telling them it has no market value and really isn't worth much effort to plan for in the estate plan. I feel a post coming out of this for me....Our Ian takes after Stella, but instead of guitars he asks his father about technology. How does the book light work, etc. These kids may be sleep deprived, but they are filled with a lot of knowledge!