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A Blonde's Perspective - Car Troubles

A blonde pushes her car into a gas station. She tells the mechanic it died. After he works on it for a few minutes, it is idling smoothly. She says, “What was wrong?” He replies, “Just crap in the carburetor” She asked with a perplexed look, “How often do I have to do that?”

By Jan Sradtherr

I am a blonde but I’m not that bad, but I do wish I was more mechanically inclined, especially when it comes to cars, and hammering a nail, and screwing a screw, and using an electric drill, etc.

Working as a newspaper reporter many years ago, a reliable car was needed. My (first) husband wanted to switch cars for a week as he was going to be out of town, so I drove his classic Audi, a vehicle I wasn’t that familiar with. As I drove the eight-mile trek to work one morning, I began to hear a faint buzzing sound which gradually got louder. Once at work, I called my husband who thought it may be the fuel pump. The buzzing sound continued as I drove around town to take pictures and gather news.

The next morning as I started my drive to work, the buzzing car began to chug and sputter down the street, so I headed to the mechanic a few blocks away. Lying under the car, he tapped, pounded, listened and agreed it must be the fuel pump which he had to order for next-day delivery. Leaving the car with the mechanic, I relied on a fellow worker for my transportation.

The next afternoon I called the mechanic to see if the car was ready. He replied, “Jan, you’re not going to believe this, “but I saved you a lot of money. It wasn’t the fuel pump, you were out of gas!”

Tears rolled down my cheeks from laughter. The newspaper staff just shook their heads and laughed also when I shared my story, but for some reason, they didn’t seem surprised.

I didn’t want to classify myself as a “dumb blonde,” and back then, I couldn’t blame it on old age. My husband didn’t tell me that the gas gauge was stuck at one-quarter tank, or at least I couldn’t remember that he had, and we never had a car buzz when the gas tank was getting low. But after that day I began to hear more blonde jokes.

Computer technology has taken over in today’s cars. Lights on the dashboard will tell you if you’re running low on gas, or if the tire pressure is low, if you’re too close to the center line, and they can even drive themselves for a short time!

One thing a car can’t do automatically is change its own tire. I have never had to change a flat and I wouldn’t even know how to do it. I wouldn’t have the strength to remove the lug nuts. (Gosh, I remembered what they’re called!) Community education used to offer classes for women on how to perform basic things on a car. I never enrolled but I was tempted.

I remember when full-service gas stations started to be replaced by self-service gas pumps. Due to my mechanical inabilities, I continued to go to the only gas station in town that offered full service. The attendant was a woman and I told her I hoped they never changed. Unfortunately, they did and I was forced to pump gas myself.

When I pulled up to a self-serve pump for the first time, I was relieved there were no other cars at the station. This gave me more time to study the instructions on how to feed my car without anyone knowing I was rookie at pumping the petrol. But all the pumps are not the same at gas stations. I still have read the directions quickly to make sure I do it correctly.

I was surprised to hear on the news in August that residents in Oregon are finally allowed to fill up their own gas tanks, and New Jersey is the now the only state where it is still prohibited. Who would have thought?

Did I tell you about the time I thought . . .

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