On Friday, there was a touch of car trouble in my life. A dead battery. Sigh. My father and uncle, my go-to lifesavers in such situations, were both out of town. My brother and B were both working, my mom clueless and a string of other people unavailable. A kind stranger in the parking lot finally jumped us off, which was very nice of him. On Saturday, I left my car at the shop to have some (not battery-related) things done to it -- oil, fluids, filters and something else changed. I greatly underestimated the popularity of the shop on Saturday. It was annoying and I didn't really want to sit around and read magazines, so my mom suggested that she pick me up and we eat lunch and then I tag along on her errands for the day. I heard "Free lunch. Shopping!" and we were off. After a few hours of this, we were driving to the grocery store when B called. He apologized for not returning my call from the night before, saying that he hadn't gotten off of work until 1:30 a.m. and figured by that time that we had either "fixed it or given up." I joked that I had almost called him to come put a battery in the car this morning and he fell silent. "You don't know how to put a battery in your car?" He was serious. The amount of information I know about my car could probably fit in the world's smallest thimble. I do (sort of) know how to jump off a car and where to put water for the bug washer thing and how to pump gas and check the amount of air in my tires and add more -- but that's about it. I don't know how to change a tire and I certainly don't know how to put a battery in a car. Although I do know that you can pour Coke on it if there's corrosion on it. Doesn't that count for something? (Sidenote: I am not without handy skills. I can paint and hammer and use some tools and do minor around-the-house repairs. I can put things together. And I can sew, when I want to. I don't see anything wrong with not being able to fix my car.) I'm not going to lie, B was amazed. In fact, he was damn near incredulous.
B: S, seriously, how do you not know how to put a battery in your car? Me: I've never had to. Plus, that's a bit more major than pumping gas or adding air to the tires, no? B: Okay. I'm going to explain this to you. Me: What? B: There's a red wire and a black wire. Me: [interrupting] I've SEEN a battery before. B: Ok, so, you want to unscrew the wires and ... Me: [interrupting again] B, can I be honest with you? B: Uh, sure. Me: I am never going to change the battery in my car. Most places will put it in for free when you buy it. B: But, S, you need to know about your car. Me: B, there's only so much knowledge that I can have at any given time. And this is something I do not need to know how to do. I promise you, I'm never going to have this sort of interaction with a battery. Ever. B: Um, okay. I see.Look, I don't feel like a bad person or a wimpy woman because I don't know how to put a new battery in my car. There comes a time when you have to say that some things are not things that you can do, and changing a battery in a car is one of the things I cannot do. (I also can't waterski, but you don't hear anyone trying to teach me how to do THAT over the phone.) B is from a much smaller town and more rural area than I am. He was raised on a farm, I was raised in suburbia. Now, I hardly live in a booming metropolis, but compared to where he is originally from, I just as soon live in New York City or London or Paris or something. When you live somewhere where you can actually count the number of stoplights ... well, there's not really anything else I can say about that. There's a divide. He's always seen me as a "city girl" to his "country guy"-ness. This battery thing was only the most recent thing to support his theory about my handiness (or lack thereof). I think he's focusing on the wrong things. There are A LOT of things that I can do. Also, I am not the only person in the world who didn't know what a salt lick was. Right?