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!!

7 comments:

Richard M said...

Another thought provoking post on why blog… I haven't figured it out yet. But I think you stated a great reason.

Charlie6 said...

A rider should know at least how to service his/her own motorcycle....its part of the bond.

Gender based roles and behaviors...things are changing but some remain the same don't they.

Good Post.

Anonymous said...

I'm with SRAB.
But I'll also point out that lots of MEN don't change their own oil, can't lift their own fallen bikes, and pay mechanics to do things for them for any number of reasons.
It is just that that circumstance doesn't seem to keep them from doing as they please. Nor should it. For any of us.

Gail Hatch said...

Great point, about men not learning to do things for themselves either. Self sufficiency isn't always valued.

David Mellor said...

Thanks for your insights. We often speak of the difference between doing something because we like to do it and doing something because we must do it. The freedom to make that shift is given to us by our role models, our society, and our own courage to be "different." Please keep being different.

PattyRules said...

Very interesting and thought provoking. keep up the deepness

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Biker Mike said...

Great post. Male or Female there's no difference, a biker is a biker. If you've not spent time laying under your bike....try it for a different perspective!