I’m of two minds when it comes to men treating me like a woman.
I don’t like to be whistled at, but I do like to be noticed.
I don’t like to be talked down to, but I do like to have things explained.
And though I am happy to stay far away from the world of cars and car repairs, I hate the feeling I get each time my oil needs changed or the engine serviced. I don’t want to be taken advantage of, but I do want to feel like I am making the right decision.
My car has been making a funny noise the past few months, and I kind of remember it making the same noise last summer. I didn’t get it checked out then. I thought I should now. Especially since I have plans for a road trip to Wisconsin soon.
I walked into Pat’s Auto Repair where I have taken my car before and began to explain the problem.
“When I turn and go over a bump at the same time, or sometimes just when I turn, but usually just when I go over a bump, my car makes this noise,” I tell the man in charge, though I’ve heard it’s not Pat.
“It sounds like, errttt, errrtt, errtttt,” I say, waving my hand up and down so he knows that the sound I’m making is supposed to sound like a creaky spring. “Could it be the suspension?”
I thought I sounded very smart offering that suggestion, though really it was my dad’s idea.
“Yeah, it sounds like the blah, blah, blah,” he told me, only with real words that sounded something like “struts” and “arms” and “joints.” I tried to pay attention and understand exactly what he was saying. But I had no context, and I didn’t write it down.
“How much does that usually cost,” I asked, getting to the bottom line.
“Thirty-four hundred,” I thought I heard him say.
“$3,400?” I repeated, imagining the new car I would buy instead. “Really?”
“No, three OR four hundred,” he clarified.
But then I saw it. A slight hesitation.
“It is dangerous to drive the car if I don’t get it fixed,” I asked, hoping to burst through the little window I saw in his expression.
He shook his head.
“Not at all. If you were driving a Ford, the problem might leave you stranded. But this happens all the time with Vue’s. It’s probably the blah, blah, blah (I kind of blacked out again), and that won’t cause any damage at all.”
I let out a sigh of relief. I asked him again what the problem was so that I could report back to my dad. Mentioned that the problem seemed better in the winter, and he said that sounded about right because of the humidity or something.
“Alright then,” I said, smiling. “I think I’ll just let it go for now.”
“That sounds good,” not-Pat told me.
And I left. Dignity in tact.
Photo by maureen lunn via flickr. Used with permission under the Creative Commons License.