29 August 2008

Man = mechanic

"We wipe your pipe
We pump your gas
We jack your back
We scrub your glass

So join the ranks of those who know
And fill your tanks with Texaco"*

Bless all of you for not responding to my last post with "Wait, you told your husband you were worried about your tires and he didn't take care of it?"

I don't expect my husband to take care of my car. That's because a) he has his own car to be concerned with, b) much like me, he knows almost nothing about cars** and c) it is not 1950.

My mother, on the other hand, a very intelligent woman who speaks five languages while I can sometimes barely speak one, expects my husband to know about cars, electronics and so on, simply because he is a man. She does not have this expectation of me, because I am not a man.

So, it is not uncommon for us to have a conversation like the following when we visit her:

Mother to Hubby: There's something wrong with my car.

Hubby: What's wrong with your car?

Mother: [Describes problem.]

Hubby: Have you taken it to a mechanic?

Mother: Not yet. I thought you could look at it.

Hubby: I could certainly look at the car. Literally. But short of setting the clock, I doubt I'd be of much help. I don't know anything about cars.

Mother, handing him the keys: If you wouldn't mind... See if you can fix it.

Hubby looks at me as if to say: What should I do now?

I look at Hubby and say to my Mother: He'll take a look at it.

Because what does it hurt to look?

He and I go out to the car and here's the thing: Where Hubby knows very little about cars, he is a very logical, methodical fellow. And often the problems she has are not so mechanically intensive. So, for example, he can sometimes un-stick a stuck seat lever by smacking it with his shoe.

We go back in and, because he thinks it's ridiculous, I proudly announce: He fixed it! Isn't he clever?!***

This reinforces her belief that he is a mechanical genius and, of course, this encourages her to come back to him the next time anything goes wrong.

* Actual words from the old Texaco song. Amazing, no? If you're so inspired, add a new verse.

** Unlike me, he has other talents that are much more valuable.

*** I'm all kinds of evil this way.


Narm said...

I am the same way. I can't even drive a stick shift. How embarrassing. The worst part is that I grew up on a farm - so I can explain how a hydraulic system works but have no idea what the hell an alternator is.

rs27 said...

I will not stand for men being pigeonholed like this.

Must we always be fixing this?

I say no, isn't there a Real World marathon on? That's where I'm a viking.

GreenCanary said...

The Texaco song is going to be my new Theme Song. It will follow on the heels of the dirty limerick with my name in it. I pull these out in moment of silence, because it's fun to make people uncomfortable. That's how I roll.

james in washington (& maine) said...

Good for hubby! I could not even set the clock in my car.

Bilbo said...

If it can't be fixed with a nine-pound hammer, I can't fix it. I'm with rs27.

Mike said...

"c) it is not 1950"

Unfortunately true. No more rebuilding carburetors, adjusting points, etc. Unless you've been to the specialized training and have the $15,000 tool, you can't work on cars anymore.

lacochran said...

Narm: I can not explain how a hydraulic system works. I can drive a stick shift... if you call burning through clutches driving.

Rs27: Now, now... Don't get your feathers ruffled. See what I did there? Pigeon reference.

Greencanary: Dirty limerick? How intriguing.

James in Washington: :) Time is such a relative thing, anyway.

Bilbo: I had no idea there were so many "Real World" fans.

Mike: I'm seen a lot of good mechanics stumped by the new fangled electronic gizmos, that's for sure.

SingLikeSassy said...

You are cruel!

@narm: I hate it when people say they can't drive a stick shift. I can't drive an automatic, all that...driving and non-shifting just creeps me out.