6.25.2009

It’s not an act. I’m just really this clueless.

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.

9 comments:

sarahsmile3 said...

Classic.
At least you are a good driver. I feel safe when you are at the wheel. I can't say that about all of my friends.

Laurie said...

Pounds per Square Inch. :-) If you look on your actual tire you'll see how many pounds (amount of air) you need to inflate them to. Mine is actually listed on the inside of my gas cap.

I think because I was fiercely independent for so long - I learned how to do simple things on my car myself - tires, check oil, wiper fluid, break fluid etc. Its not that I liked it, but I didn't have a boy/man/dad for many years of my life and I was poor so I had to figure something out. I was raised with a younger brother and always felt as the oldest I had to know a lot about various things as a means of pure survival.

Colin and I do have separate chores that we've just divided through the years. I've softened and have started to look to him to do more of the "manly" chores. I told him me made me this way.

I guess my life was a little backwards :-) Took until about 33 to consider myself a "girly girl," well, to an extent. I definitely know when to turn it on, ha!

Laurie said...

p.s. when you said your dash lights were out, my first thought was that you blew a fuse. I could fix that for you ;-)

"Miss Bee" said...

Pounds per Square Inch!!!! I learned something today! I'm going to see if I can find mine listed. Not that I will actually do anything with that information, but it would be nice to know, I suppose.

Laura B. said...

One early 20s trip to College Station, my parents told me to check my oil. I said it could use some so I got a quart and a funnel. The funnel wouldn't fit. Mom got me a smaller one. Still didn't fit. Dad just looked at me confused "Laura there is no way that funnel doesn't fit." He came out there to check and turned out I was trying to put the oil in the dipstick hole. Had no clue there was a separate hole. =) Don't feel so bad.

"Miss Bee" said...

Laura, lol - thanks for making me feel a little less "blonde."

April said...

I do believe that it was I who took you to Circle S to teach you how to put air in your tires when you were on your way to take your SAT or something. I remember thinking, I just got off of work at like midnight and now I have to get dressed early to show Rachel how to put air in the freakin' tires?! I now look back and laugh that your mom actually thought to ask me to help that way! We still love ya'! :D

M--- said...

As a single parent for so long, I kinda HAD to learn to do a lot of "manly" things for myself. I'm actually pretty handy around the house and there isn't a flat-packed anything I haven't built. Now that I have the hubster though, I *SO* make him kill bugs/spiders rather than just escort them politely (through shudders and a few yelps) out the door like I used to. I make him reach for stuff on the top shelf even though I have a stepladder. I get him to carry moderately heavy things. He says he likes to feel "needed" in that way. However, I'd never ask him to do the yardwork or fix a car. I totally know his limits. LOL

"Miss Bee" said...

April, I owe you one! LOL!!!