That’s why I have an off road motorized scooter. It’s just like the ones that you see on TV with the happy grandmother or grandfather toddling along behind their numerous grand kids at the local zoo or park. Except mine is on steroids. I can go anywhere on it without getting stuck. In fact, it even has a name to show how bad-ass it is. We call it: Conan The Barbarian, or just Conan to his friends.
When my husband was alive, we had a rack that was placed in the hitch which we could winch Conan up and strap him down for the journey. It was a two person operation, but it worked very well. Unfortunately, I am now operating as a one person team so an alternative had to be found.
That alternative was an enclosed utility trailer with a ramp. One that I could just hitch up myself, ride Conan up the ramp, strap him in, shut the door and off we go.
So trailer shopping I went. And trailer shopping I left. A new utility trailer cost about $4000. No way.
Fortunately, we have Craigslist in our lives. There I found an old beat up trailer for $150. I went and looked at it, saw that it needed work, but it was functional.
All it needed was some new plywood, the roof fixed a little and a new tire. With approximately another $500 in supplies, it would be good as new. I already had someone that owed me some work and this was well within his capabilities to fix. Maybe it won’t be as sleek and shiny as the new trailers, but heck, I’m not entering it into any trailer shows.
So I paid for the trailer, went to the local tire shop just down the road, paid for a new tire and the mounting and made arrangements with the seller to pick it up a few days later as she had to empty it out and pull it to the front of the house so I could hitch it up to my truck. She also said that she would take the rim to the tire shop and have someone change it on the trailer.
I called her the next day to verify that I would be coming by in two days to pick up the trailer. She said that was fine and then explained that I might have to bring ‘a man’ to change the tire as she didn’t know if she could get her male friend to do it. Then she said something that stopped me in my tracks. She said:
“Make sure you bring a man to change the tire because a woman can’t do that.”
Huh? Now, I’ll admit that I normally left those things for my husband to do, as working on the vehicles was bread and butter to him. He loved nothing better than to tinker with something, anything, mechanical. But before I met him, I was a fairly competent woman, living on my own, and I survived just about anything thrown at me. Flat tires, blocked drains. Maybe they weren’t all fixed perfectly or the first time….but eventually I muddled through.
I found myself getting angry at her. Thoughts floated through my mind “Come on lady, this is 2015, not 1940!” “What a loser, can’t even change a tire.” “Seriously? Does she need a man to open the olive jar too?”
As I hung up the phone I just kept getting angrier and angrier. So as I try to do when I am accosted with a surge of emotions, I sat quietly to analyze where this all came from. I’ve heard this sentiment from several people over the years, so it couldn’t be that. This attitude of hers is prevalent among a lot of women, so that couldn’t be what was bothering me.
That’s when it hit me. It wasn’t the statement that I couldn’t do it…it was the thought that I had to do it. That I was no longer in a partnership. A partnership that I had melded into quickly and easily. My husband and I would trade off tasks seamlessly, without any conscious thought. There were some things that I would just instantly do and others that he would.
It was never an ‘assigning’ of chores, but rather subconscious teamwork that helped accomplish everything we had to do in our daily lives.
And now I had to adjust my thinking.
And that’s why I was angry. I was angry at her for making me realize that I had to do things alone. I was angry at the universe that I had to do things alone. And yes, as irrational as it was, I was angry at my husband for not being there to help me.
Well, I eventually went to pick up the trailer. I didn’t need to bring a ‘man’ to change the tire as her friend did that before we got there. But I did take my niece along, more for company than anything else. I was friendly and polite to the seller as she blithered on about how lucky she was that her ‘male’ friend could change the tire so we ‘poor women’ wouldn’t have to deal with it. I even smiled and waved to her as we drove off.
As we turned the corner and headed back on the highway, my anger was gone. Instead I sighed quietly with resignation and a sadness for that wonderful, easy partnership I lost when my husband died.