Displays of manhood are not as common as they used to be, or so I'm told. What with gender equality blurring the lines of our respective roles, and so few times when action is really necessary, it's difficult to know if you're really a man, and what that actually means.
Yesterday, I was driving with Rebecca. We had just gone to Buffalo Exchange, and a used book store. (This successful errand was inspired by a vision I had the night before, of owning a few titles I really enjoy). As we were driving I heard a strange rhythmic Fwack Fwack Fwack. Anytime I hear, or smell something weird when driving, I always assume it's the guy in front of me.
This time no one was around, so I pulled aside to check out my tires. There it was, my first flat. What a gift!
Most people don't like getting flat tires, in fact, I'd say most people find it rather inconvenient. Well, I have been feeling a little stuck in my routine, so an excuse to be late, to bend my schedule, gave me the same satisfaction I used to get as a child when there was a snow day.
Besides temporarily liberating me from my routine, the flat tire opened up an opportunity to make a manly display, and with my female in the car! I asked Rebecca, "Do you know how to change a tire?" "Nope." Perfect.
I learned how to change a tire a long time ago. A group of friends and I got a flat once, and we teamworked it. I worked on my brakes a couple years ago. All of that was clearly practice. Rebecca was a little nervous, "Should you just do this on the side of the road? Cars are coming?" A confident man answered, "Don't worry about it. This'll only take a minute."
I grabbed the doughnut out of my trunk, grabbed the jack and tire iron. I loosened the bolts on the flat, jacked the car up, swapped out the tires, lowered the car back down, and tightened the doughnut up. All while my faithful woman watched out for inattentive drivers, internally stewing with desire from the feat of man she was witnessing.
Small problems come along all the time, but often they are blessings in disguise. The shopping errand only happened on a whim. Had we skipped that, I most likely would have realized I had a flat while driving to or from school, alone, on the freeway. That scenario would have been a little different, assuming I could safely pull over. No one to silently watch me work, inattentive drivers aplenty, at high speeds.
Sometimes I wonder.