Thursday, October 3, 2013
Getting Philosophical in the Garage
I was laying under my bike, battling a skid plate bolt that didn't want to thread. I patiently pulled it out, hand thread it again, and finally succeeded. I laid there for a second thinking about what I was doing. Securing the bolts on the skid plate is the last step in the oil change process. And out of no where a thought occurred to me, my mother would never have changed her own oil. A ridiculous thought, the only reason my mother would be in the basement would be to change out the laundry.
My mother lived by a strict unyielding rules, rules that governed gender norms. In my mother's world, a woman would never wield a wrench. If a woman was seen pumping her gas, she was to be pitied that she did not have a man to do it for her. In addition to the rules, what other people though of her was also a top priority. I distinctly remember the mantra of "what will the neighbors think".
One could assume it was childhood rebellion that led me to be so different than her. And perhaps there is some of that. But the unspoken lesson that I learned from her was the price she paid for her dependence. When my father passed away, 10 years before her, she did not know how to pay bills, or get her car serviced. Growing up I saw how she had to ask for money, and account for its spending. It was that more than any rebellion that became the tenant of my values, my independence and ability to take care of myself trumped all.
As I wiped down my wrenches and put away my tool box, tossed the oily paper towels into the trash, I thought about writing this entry. Why do I write a blog at all? If for no other reason but to encourage that next woman who wants to learn how to change her own oil. Do it! Taking care of your own needs is the essence of self confidence. Enjoy!!