Last week the battery in my car died. Why does that always happen when you're on your way somewhere, like to work, and never when you're just idly thinking, maybe I'll run out for fun and not for something that I need? Anyway, it's not like I didn't know the battery was on its way out. The service shop had warned me back in December, the car very reluctantly started at the grocery store the week before. I even had a fresh battery sitting in the car, just waiting to be installed. It took the battery just finally giving up the ghost (with a little nudge from me leaving the overhead lights on all night - oh yeah? you try to remember to turn those things off when you're trying to get a sick kid into the house, go on with you) before I actually changed it.
That's the point of this post. I changed it. I popped the hood, removed the old battery (with the help of a can of Pepsi - that thing about how soda eats corrosion? Totally true), and put the new one in. I didn't call AAA, I didn't drag my husband out of bed, I didn't throw up my hands and cry. I just changed the battery.
When I was in high school, my high school debate partner, Linda, drove us to a meet one Saturday. On the way home, her car started to overheat. So we pulled into a gas station to see what was going on. Turns out she had almost no oil in the car. But it's not like she knew that. She couldn't even pop the hood.
I think that women too often rely on others to get them out of a car jam. It's so easy these days to call a tow truck, to ask a neighbor, to put your hands on your hips, hike your skirt up a bit higher, and hope that a big strong man will come and give you that jump, fix your flat, solve your problem.
To this, I call bullshit. Girls, really? You need someone else to help you? Where is your inner Towanda?
So I'm considering setting up a series of Towanda Emergency Car Repair clinics, where we'll learn the following:
- Popping your hood
- Checking the oil. Adding more if needed.
- Adding windshield washer fluid.
- Adding antifreeze.
- Jump starting your car. The smart way.
- Changing a battery.
- Changing a flat tire.
For the advanced, I'll bring in a friendly mechanic to teach us the basics of car repair - this course will be called, "How to not get screwed by the auto repair guy just because you have boobs."
I'm not suggesting that we all get ASE certified, or even that you learn how to pull the radiator out of your car (thanks for showing me that one, Dad, good skills), just that we, as a gender, stop acting so god-damn helpless.