I am a fan of Redi Direko, but was disappointed to hear her eschew the idea of changing her own tyre on the radio this morning, lest she busts a nail or something.
I got stuck with a flat on the way back from the airport in June. It was seven at night, already dark, in winter, and I must admit that I was really afraid. I was alone on the shoulder of the highway, there were no shops or houses nearby and I knew that even though the AA asks “are you in a safe place?” when you call the emergency number, they will take 45 minutes to get to you, safe or not.
I know this because unlike Redi, whose car sports a number plate beginning with “Z” (or something at the end of the alphabet), my car was first registered in the “D” era, so I have an intimate relationship with the Automobile Association, as the five regular readers of the blog will know.
Any way. Being of kaalvoet-oor-die-Drakensberge stock, however, I whipped out the marie biscuit, the wheel spanner and the jack, and was on my way fifteen minutes later, blood still pounding in my ears. I was pleased that no-one had stopped to help, or worse, or ploughed into me from the back – better get those triangles, I guess.
So, Redi, just from a practical, safety point of view, a girl should be able to change her own tyre. You can always get the nail fixed.
But there are far more entertaining reasons why a girl should be able to fix her own tyre when she is travelling by herself.
1. There really is very little that reinforces the feeling that you can do WHATEVER you want, WHENEVER you want, quite like hauling your own ass out of trouble.
2. Few things are more irritating than a man who is less educated, less successful and who earns less than you do, but who feels superior to you because he can change a tyre. I know there are girls that allow this, because they think, quite rightly probably, that the deluded fellow is really simply doing their bidding. But it is only a girl with absolutely no ambition who wields such manipulation in the matter of a flat tyre rather than, say… the matter of buying a house in Saxonwold.*
3. Although many men suffer terribly from what I like to call the “broken-wing compulsion” (the tendency to fall in love and hook up with women in order to save them from, for example, financial woes, grief over the death of a loved one, illness, excessive self-esteem, dementia or plain old homicidal psychosis) the guy a sensible girl really dreams of is be the one who thinks she doesn’t need him, and is inspired to chase her, court her and woo her relentlessly, in order to gain the privilege of changing her flat tyre.
For example. And then there is the safety thing. As I said, you can always get the nail fixed.
* Just an example, really.