Friday, August 6, 2010

Damsel in Distress

Last night I was driving home from a friend's house... wait, that's not a dramatic enough start to this story. Let's try this: it was getting dark last night when I left my friend's house. I had a long drive ahead of me and was completely unaware of the danger that lie ahead. How was that for a start?

So as I was saying, I was driving home from a friend's house last night when suddenly, I heard a terrible sound outside my car. It sounded something like this: "sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss." I'm no mechanic but that sound usually means one thing. My friend Amy was in the car with me and we both looked each other nervously. I pulled over and sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed: flat tire.

There's one thing I know for sure about flat tires and that is that I know nothing about flat tires or how to fix them. Luckily for me, I have a cousin who lives near where it happened and her husband came over and put my spare on for me with the help of a guy in the neighborhood.

As I stood there "supervising" them, I felt increasingly guilty. There they were, on their backs, grease all over their hands, getting eaten by mosquitoes, trying to figure out my weird jack, and I'm just standing there holding a flashlight - trying to make it look like I'm really doing something - angling the flashlight just so. They were both very nice about it and brushed aside my thank yous but I was conflicted in my role as damsel in distress.

Should I know how to put my spare tire on my car? Don't answer that because I know what the answer is: yes. Or at least probably. I can put windshield washing fluid in my car and you know... put gas in it and drive it and whatnot. But I can't change the oil or identfiy the serpentine belt (unless it looks like a snake, which is how I picture it). Do men mind helping women with things like that? I think that question might be sexist, actually. It assumes that all men know how to fix flat tires and that women don't. Secretly that is my perception but I'm embarrassed by that - it's not very progressive of me.

Who among you can change a flat tire or do other minor car repairs? (And can you teach me?)

(Sixth day in a row of blogging - can you handle it?)


Sui Sin Far said...

I have changed the spark plugs in my car. I have filled up mild fluids in my car (windshield wiper fluid, oil). I have changed the windshield wipers on my car several times.

Guys have changed the oil on my car and put on the spare tire. I don't feel bad about it. I'm little. There are many things I ask other people to do. Get things off of high shelves. Carry large and bulky items (not necessarily heavy). Etc.

Robin said...

This should make you feel MUCH better: I cannot put air in my tires. I don't know what it is, but I always end up letting more air out than in. I have given up on this. However, I have perfected the look of helplessness at the air hose station. So... since I was in college, which is a regrettably long time ago, I have never put air in my own tires. However, I have the helpless look down to an art form. So, I say no guilt is necessary here. Men need to feel needed. You were actually doing them a service.

BTW, you did you like your video dedication on HERE'S TO YOU THURSDAY? When people don't comment, it makes me think that they hated it. Yes, I know that sounded paranoid. Imagine me just looking curious.

Katherine said...

I feel like I know a decent amount about cars: I can check my oil, and add more if needed; I know what a serpentine belt is and that when it squeals that usually means it needs belt dressing; I can check my tire pressure and put air in them; I can add washer fluid, and feel adequately prepared to change a flat tire if needed (though I've been lucky on that front so far...), and can handle other car-related problems as well. That doesn't mean I'd say no if a strapping young man offered to do it for me! I guess I also have a sort of hard time with the damsel in distress thing, too. I've become used to doing things myself, but am pleased to be offered the help!
And I love the daily blogging! Keep it up!!

Ryan @ TheSinglesWard said...

Oh Elizabeth, you pose such good questions for us to answer. So for now we'll answer it shortly, with a post down the road to follow. Down the road ;) ;), get it ;) ;)

Ok, so men love being the rescuer of the damsel in distress. We think it's pretty cute.

Spider, mouse, tire, yeah... it's cute.

Heather said...

As you know, I recently had a flat and had to rely on 2 fellas to help. They actually had to drive about 25 minutes to get to me and my car full of groceries and 3 tired kids. They acted like it was no big deal. I watched though so that I would be able to do it if need be. I can do basic stuff, and had bought a tire sealant kit and portable air generator for the car, but those don't help when there is a big gaping hole in the tire that you can fit your fist I hope guys don't mind b/c I might be calling again.

Keep on keepin on with the bloggin.

Ashley said...

I call AAA if I have any car problems.

And I CAN handle more daily blog posts, Elizabeth!

lizzie mc.- said...

Oil, water, air, filters, fluids, tires... an old hat, helped dad w/ the brakes once (not that I remember anything) learned how to change the collar on the steering column, and I generally know the sounds I don't want to hear or how it feels to have the transmission start slipping and how to lengthen it just a bit more... does this come from being capable, no, just owning cruddy cars. I don't do the D.I.D. thing very well, I'd rather be able to impress a guy w/ what I know...but men don't take well to that, it depreciates their masculinity...though I've yet to know WHY! How does me being more capable make you less so. But then again, it does, somehow, seem to make me less feminine... or does it, IDK.

Melissa C said...

So, I am a totally bad person to ask what I know about cars and what I am capable of doing to them being that I have a ME in Auto Engineering. There is no shame in having guys help you out at all. I have had a zillion flat tires, changed some of them myself, but these days call AAA because my jack went MIA after I took it to the dealership for a WHEEL & TIRE replacement. It is really the only option these days since the dealership won't give me a new one because it took me a year to figure out it was missing and their fault. Seriously, where else would it have been? I didn't leave it on the side of the road, and they were the last people to touch it, but apparently the statute of limitations on stolen/lost jacks was expired by the time I needed it again.

Elizabeth Downie said...

That was cold of them to steal your jack, Melissa. Really cold.

And Lizzie, I don't think it makes you any less feminine to know how to do that stuff! It's awesome. And oh my goodness, I know that sound of the transmission slipping and it's the worst (and most expensive) sound ever.

Amanda said...

If it makes you feel any better, I know how to change a tire but cannot physically get the bolts off (I'm not a very strong woman). It wouldn't really matter if you knew how if you couldn't get them off in the first place, right? I really don't think that men mind helping out. I've never had any man help me out with something that he didn't mind doing. Usually they're more than happy to help. It makes them feel all manly and boosts their confidence.