Pull Up a Chair

4:53 am in Culture by Ruth Calvo

Jolly Green Truck

This week I am the owner of a monster truck. At least it seems like that to me.

Through a series of events, and needing something I can use to carry large household items in, I found and had this baby (pictured above) fixed up. Now I’m feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed.

Many of the things we learned growing up were roles we play as girls or as boys, and something about opening the hood of a truck is just intimidating.  Yes, I can find the oil, and add water, and even windshield washer fluid.  This is a pretty basic engine, too.   It just isn’t natural to me, though, and I think many of the things that we might do perfectly easily are things we weren’t at ease with, because we learned to be dependent on others to do them.  I know Margaret has worked with those engines that just scare me, and is totally at ease in them. What an advantage we have when we get comfortable doing things that not too many ages back were not “women’s” or “men’s” roles.

I talk to fathers online who are at perfect ease in the kitchen, taking on daily cooking for their families.  We trade recipes with nonquixote, and know his daughter knows that her meals will be ready and healthy because he takes care of that.  When I look into the motor of my truck, I’m probably having something of the kind of moment men first have when they take on that job.

I remember being amazed to learn that my father- in-law of long ago got up in the morning, ground and made the coffee in that household.

A few months ago, I visited some of his relatives with spudtruckowner, south of here in Texas.  One of the relatives is a police officer and while we were there I was asked to help out by sewing a patch onto his uniform that was loose. I was happy to do it, but it makes me smile. I’m a woman, so I sew things. How many men actually would not hesitate to pick up needles and thread and sew things? Some things like taking out the trash, we may turn to the men for.

Living alone, of course, there is no choice. What you don’t do doesn’t get done. Paying the bills was men’s stuff when I was growing up, and naturally without being able to do that I’d be in big trouble. I do wonder if my father, or yours, would have been comfortable paying them online? There are a couple I don’t have online, color me spooky, but I have reservations about doing a few things online; also, I check in with other offices when I pay county and city taxes and utilities.

Okay, lay it on me. What about that monster truck?   And what do I not know, and need to know, to take care of it? I’m thinking I want to give it a nice, mammoth trunk and tusks. Maybe it would feel more like my own if I do.

Photo by Ruth Calvo.