In Which I Enter A Man's World

Tyre-fitter - or tire-fitter as my American friends write.

Soooo, this is what a man's world looks like, is it? I'm in some kind of tyre-fitting place, sent by the dearly beloved to replace a worn tyre. I'm not used to this car business, having been spoiled for years and years by having a company car. It was all done for me. A nice man came around at work and checked the tread. If a tyre needed replacing, it was replaced.

Since leaving the company, the dearly beloved has sorted out all my vehicle-related needs. Except today. He's too busy.

"But I've got three perfectly good tyres!" I tell  him. He looks at me as if I have crawled out from under a stone wearing a hat with the label BIMBO in the brim.

"Yes, sweetheart, tell that to the nice policeman when he stops you and to the magistrates when they fine you £200 and put three penalty points on your licence." He can be VERY sarcastic when he wants to be.

So I drive into "some kind of tyre-fitting place". I don't want to appear as if I'm a know-nothing woman who they can rip off. Even though I AM a know-nothing woman who they could quite easily rip off.

So I nonchalantly walk up to the desk, put my arm across the counter and look the assistant in the eye. "New tyre, please."

"No problem, madam, what do you want?"

What does he mean, "what do I want"? I've just told him. I want a new tyre. He looks at my puzzled face and reels off a list of options. I still look puzzled and he says he'll send someone to look at my car and see what tyres are already on there, then they can fit the same type.

So that's all sorted and I settle down to wait. But I realise I am losing the "I know what I'm doing" game so I wander over to the coffee machine - then they will know I have some mechanical skills at least. I don't know what I did but the coffee machine resolutely refuses to produce a beverage. Nice man comes over from behind the desk, presses a few buttons and I have my coffee.

I go back to the bench to drink my coffee and read a magazine dated June, 2011.

I'm half way through the quiz, "Are you a tomboy or a girly girl?" when I'm told my car is ready. Now I shall never know whether I should be wearing oil-stained jeans or a flowery, floaty dress.

Man behind counter tells me how much I have to pay - one arm and one leg, it looks like. There are lots of extra things on the bill like balancing, alignment and VAT. I blink, wonder briefly if I should query anything - but it all looks official. There's nothing on there that says "know-nothing woman rates apply", so I pay up.

I leave the tyre-fitting place feeling strangely and misguidedly proud of myself. I have entered a man's world and emerged intact

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  1. Congratulations on getting your-much-needed new tire. Tires are very confusing to me because there are so many to chose from. My strategy is that I pick an all-weather tire in the middle price range. Seems to work.

  2. I've always taken my car to the garage on my own and have never learned to like it. Congrats to you for braving it!


  3. My daughter's car has very specific tyre needs depending on season and road conditions etc. I know nothing about tyres except they cost and awful lot. When T mentioned $160 I said that's a lot! and she said "each". I'm so glad I don't drive.

  4. You're lucky you emerged intact, Mrs Table, these mechanics can be very forward. Did they give you a chance to inspect the new tyre before fitting it?

  5. I'm giggling only because I'd feel the same way had we not had our own garage/parts store for several years, in addition to a variety of backyard projects where he fires up the engine,flames shoot from the carb, and all the pictures fall off the wall in the house! I guess it stands to reason why he won't allow anyone else to work on our vehicles ;-) You should indeed feel proud, you did admirably well.

  6. This reminds me of ME in any hardware store or car shop. I'm all for the gender roles of yesteryear if I can get out of those duties. Kudos for your finesse and man-myth busting accomplishment, ha ha.

  7. I'm a bloke - hopeless at mechanical things - and can identify with your experience. I feel much more comfortable in a book shop (or toy shop, for that matter!).