Sea bag is packed and on the boat and the men are leaving. Here we are ladies; we are left alone to fend for ourselves for however long the men are away. We have to take care of car maintenance, maintenance around the home and all those little ups and downs we have to deal with while our men are out to sea…Iraq… or wherever.

My dad raised me to be able to take care of myself in situations involving small home repairs and maintenance on vehicles. He definitely made sure I could handle my own before I got married and left for Virginia since my husband would be absent more often than not. I knew my way around a home improvement store like it was the back of my hand and I knew how to talk car and get what I needed at a car parts store so that when my husband left I would be able to survive while he was gone.

Going into hardware stores and buying a package of screws or a couple of boards or power tools never fazed me until I had to go into one while my husband was away. The men at the hardware store quickly approached me as I looked for the exact item I needed. While I appreciated the help I didn’t appreciate the tone they used when asking me what I needed (I felt like I was a toddler being taught the step-by-step process of potty training).

 

When my husband and I were shopping for our first car, I did a lot of the talking and asked most of the questions. Car salesmen looked at me like I was from another planet and thought I was crazy when I stepped up to the plate to get information about the car. We bought our second car on a whim and ended up hating it so we quickly got rid of it before we moved.

 

We moved and are expecting a child so it made things difficult having one car. We began another search and decided on an SUV, and again I asked lots of questions. The sales people looked at me like I was an alien from another planet but hey, I know my stuff and I want answers to my questions! We purchased a car on Monday and drove it home. Thursday my husband and I went for a little drive since we hadn’t driven it and then on Saturday I made a trip to Wal-Mart (about 15 minutes away). On my way to Wal-Mart the car broke down so I had to struggle to get the car into a nearby turning lane and hope that it would start again (of course my husband was on duty). I sat calmly in the turning lane, turned the car off and waited a couple seconds before trying to start the car again. Lucky me, it started!

 

I called my dad, the know-it-all about cars, and explained to him what had happened. He thought it was strange that the car broke down with what I had told him and he said to take the car back to the dealership and tell them to fix it! I took the car to the dealership and things instantly went downhill from there.

 

I walked into the showroom and was asked to buy a car. I explained I was brining one back due to the fact it broke down. Two men, one of which was the sales manager, sat there and listened to what I had to say while looking at me as if I were stupid. They asked me several questions like why my foot was on the brake and not the gas (it was on the gas and it wouldn’t go), how much I had driven it (less than 20 miles) and why the car stopped (do I look like an engine or the inner workings of a car?)? I answered their questions and pushed to make an appointment to get the car in. Again they thought I was stupid and told me not to make an appointment but to just call the service center on Monday morning.

 

Why do men think that women can’t handle themselves? I know that not all women know stuff about cars and home repair but that doesn’t justify why men have to undermine women. Military spouses know the life they lead is hard when our husband leaves but we also know we have to learn to take care of ourselves. Just a small vent from my small corner of the world.

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