Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Basic Incompetence

This is an embarrassing admission: I like to feel competent in the frequent tasks of every day life, things like cooking, laundry, house keeping, handing money, caring for myself, etc. My excuse for a gross incompetence is that for about 25 years of my midlife I lived in New York City and did not own a car. No, I'm not like a fair number of New Yorkers who can't drive. I'm a Midwesterner who learned to drive at age 15 in a recently harvested hayfield with my mother beside me and no trees or traffic to cause accidents -- the fence posts were far away. I love driving.

BUT I never learned to pump gas. I have done it once or twice when I really had to -- with tutoring my helpful gentlemen who did not sneer at a woman's incompetence. I'm vey happy that the two nearby gas stations that I frequent pump the gas for their customers. That brings me to today's problem. The left front tire seems a bit low and I think it needs air. I also don't know how to put air in tires. One of the two gas stations has an outdoor set up where you can get air -- also you can use a vacuum to clean inside your car [they have drive-thru car wash as well]. What I have done in the past, and what I will do in a couple of hours is fill up with gas and then say to the guy as he gives me the charge slip is look both knowing and helpless and say that I think it needs air and I need help because I don't know how to do it. And he'll look a bit put upon but tell me to drive around to the air hose.

I'll give him the two quarters needed to activate the air machine and he'll do the job and probably look at all the other tires as well. And then I'll thank him very sincerely and give him a dollar tip. And I'll drive away personally embarrassed having paid $1.50 for a small quantity of air. All the while the transaction takes place I will feel that I am really a very competent person choosing to hide under the disguise of a white haired lady who has possibly lost the husband who used to do such things and should be treated with compassionate courtesy. I keep thinking I'll learn how to do the air myself ... maybe I will, Rachel says she'll teach me. Well, I've also been taught to pump gas but I'm glad I don't have to do it.



June -- I'll admit it too -- I don't know how to put air in my tires. Last time I did it I let the air out instead of putting it in -- I felt so stupid. So now I just frequent a station that puts the air in for me. I am sure there is a trick to it -- gives those that know how to do it a feeling of superiority. Gives them a boost to their moral. By having the attendant do it we are making them feel good about themselves? -- barbara

Jonas said...

It's my understanding that Albert Einstein struggled to count the change in his pocket. Don't know if that's actually true of not, but sometimes it's best to be a Master of something(s) versus a "jack of all trades."

June Calender said...

Barbara, I find comfort knowing I'm not the only one.

Jonas, Thanks for the thought although I think Albert was on a different level of being good at something than I can ever hope to be.