When I was about a freshman in college, my dad told me that I had the act of "learned helplessness" down to an art. I believe this was after he was trying to teach me how to change a flat tire. If I remember correctly, I was standing and jumping on the tire iron and nothing was budging, so I deferred to his strength and somehow managed to get out of the lesson. I don't recall, but I probably said something like, "If I'm broken down on the side of the road, somebody is eventually going to stop to help me, so it's okay if I don't know how."
Here I am, more than 10 years later, and I still pretty much think the same way. I appreciate the right to vote and have a good-paying job and all that, but you'll never convince me that there isn't a difference between a "man's" work and "woman's" work. I don't kill bugs, I don't use the weed-eater, I don't carry heavy things and I don't fix cars. If you are a woman and like to do those things, I applaud you. But it doesn't mean I want to be like you. I'm just not cut out for it, never have been – especially when it comes to cars. For example:
When I was learning how to drive, I think my dad MADE me practice. I really didn't have much interest in it. It was scary and if I could find other people to take me places, why bother? While learning how to drive, I believe there was a time or two that I put the car in the wrong gear – as in "DRIVE" instead of "REVERSE" while in the driveway. Fortunately, I was also brake-happy, so I was able to stop before crashing through the garage door.
I got my first car after I graduated high school. (Shout out to the 1988 Eagle Summit!) I was running late for work and almost out of gas one day, so I stopped real quick at a mom 'n' pop gas station on the side of the road. I may or may not have put diesel fuel in the car – about 2 minutes later, the car chugged, chugged, chugged and stopped. I called mom and she took me to work.
A year or so later, I was out at my parent's house and my youngest brother went out to check the tire pressure. I think it was around 10psi. (Isn't it "psi?" If not, hopefully you know what I'm talking about.) We went to the gas station and either he or my dad filled up my tires. I have yet to learn how to do that. I've tried – really, I have – but I always just let all the air out. I just can't figure it out.
Towards the end of the Summit's life, I got in to head home from a late shift at Chelsea Street Pub and Grill when my car started making a strange knocking sound. A LOUD, strange knocking sound. So… it turns out that if you don't ever change the oil in your car, it eventually breaks the engine. (I don't think that is the technical term, but whatever.)
Let's fast forward to last night. I was driving home from a visit with friends around 8pm. It was still light outside, but I went to turn my lights on anyway and the whole dashboard went black. The lights on the radio, the back-light of the speedometer, everything was black. So I turned my headlights off and the interior lights came back on. It scared me. Well, Larry was going to take me to work this morning so that he could work on it. The same thing happened for him – until he said: "Where is your dimmer switch?" Um, yeah. Somehow – probably adjusting the A/C vent or something - I had totally turned down the dimmer and turned off the interior lights. Crisis averted, but I felt a little dumb. Oh well. Until next time, buckle up, air up your tires, change your oil, and drive safe.