Friday, February 22, 2008

Big City Blues

I was slapped in the face recently with the fact that despite my address in the South, I'm a city boy through and through.

Let me set the scene.

While working at my job as a crack journalist, I had to interview a gentleman who lives in what could generously be called the boonies. We went out on his little fishing boat and I talked to him for a story I'm working on.

After returning from the trip, I was attempting to leave the man's home when I made a decision that has left my fragile masculinity shaken and forced me to question my place in the world.

For those unaware, in the boonies they often have open drainage ditches on the sides of the road instead of underground piping. In addition, the road is typically up higher than the homes which means that entering and exiting driveways means navigating a safe route across narrow driveways with steep drop-offs to each side.

Now, to leave this source's home, the easiest course would have been to back my pick-up truck(yes, I own a pick-up truck) along the narrow driveway, past the ditches, and on to the equally narrow roadway. But I didn't want to do this because I was concerned that I would misjudge a turn and end up with my truck stuck in a ditch.

Being a rather intelligent fellow, I decided to turn my truck around and pull out of the yard normally instead of having to back out. When I was considering this wonderful plan, I assumed the surrounding grass, although still sodden and muddy from a torrential downpour, would be able to support my truck.

I was wrong.

Instead what happend was that I became stuck in large muddy ditches created by my impotently spinning wheels. I watched as my source, a country boy if there ever was one, grew increasingly perturbed by my inability to grasp his simple instructions on freeing myself. I felt my balls shrivel up as the source's shrill sister wondered repeatedly from their porch why I hadn't just backed out like a normal person. And, I listend while my source said "I guess he's not that good at backing up."

In short, I felt like a bitch.

Unfortunately, this was not a new feeling. When a mechanic asks me any question beyond when was my last oil change, or I have to handle any tool other than a Phillips screwdriver, I also feel like a bitch.

The feeling is there whenever I enter Home Depot or Loews and ask associates for assitance. It's there every time I call a repairman.

Whenever my lack of expertise in traditionally male areas rears its head, I feel inadequate. It's a feeling that is far more common when I deal with family, friends and associates from more rural areas because they seem to have a cornicopia of information about cars, home improvement and general man stuff.

Maybe it's their forced independence because of the lack of certain amenities in the country, or maybe it's just because folks pass down knowledge out there, but whatever it is I feel like many country folks seem to know a little about everything. I often get the feeling that if the world was suddenly stripped of all its technological bells and whistles they would be much better prepared to survive while I would die with my Playstation 3 in my arms.

Sure, I often conjugate my verbs better than many country folks, but that seems like a hollow victory when they are explaining the inner workings of a water pump.

Truthfully, my father isn't a handy guy and I never picked up those typical "guy" skills from any one else. When I stand over the open hood of my car I'm more out of my depth than George Bush at a Toastmasters' convention.

It's a humbling feeling. I've contemplated taking a course at my local community college to learn the basics of automobile repair or carpentry, but I haven't done it yet. Some of that's due to time constraints, but it's also due to a fear of having my ignorance exposed to the world.

So, for now I just nod my head at the jargon that flows from the mouths of repairmen and mechanics, hoping that don't see through my facade and wondering how badly they are jobbing me on the bill.

But, I'll get those bastards if they ever need an essay written on the effect of the black press on the Great Northern Migration.

Then I'll have my revenge.

(I apologize to any ladies offended by my use of the word bitch. I used it because that's the men talk. Sorry.)


T.A.N. Man said...

Why don't you do something about it? I think the real issue is a will to try, rather than any Big City Blues. Maybe if you had been more interested in doing work as a kid, you would be more handy today.

Community college is like $60 a credit hour, and they offer capentry and car mechanics classes every semester. Take one. The next time you go to Home Depot just talk to one of the associates in the area you're perusing. Those guys are very helpful and knowledgeable. Plus, I am absolutely sure that the next time you need your oil changed you can get one of your uncles to show you the ropes. It's a start. Who knows, the big city boy might find out he likes getting his hands dirty.

Lolo said...

As long as you rule the remote control and never stop to ask for directions your Man Card is punched, or so I'm told.

Saint Lucian Dutch Canadian said...

This line was hilarious: "When I stand over the open hood of my car I'm more out of my depth than George Bush at a Toastmasters' convention. " TOO FUNNY.

Raving Black Lunatic