My friend began to tell me about a time when he and his wife had only one car. Being the gentleman that he is, he encouraged her to take the car to see her mom while he would cycle to his job. One day he received a call from his wife asking for help. She had punctured a tire and was stranded on the side of the road and could not get the lug nuts off to change it. Like a true knight in shining armor, he dutifully turned around and rode 6 miles back, in the rain, to come to her aid.
I asked, "Did she at least jack the car up before you got there?"
He replied, "She didn't even try to get them off. She didn't even get wheel or jack or spanner (wench) out of the boot. In other words, she did sweet fuck all!"
Here's where I get a bit cloudy on my role as a friend. Deep down inside I know I am supposed to be outraged on his behalf. I should have said something like, "Well that's just lazy and rude! How horrible for you!" but in my head I couldn't help but to think, "So what are you getting at? Did you get the tire changed?"
You see, Mrs. Chas knows the score. Have you ever tried to get lug nuts off a car when they were put on using an pneumatic wrench like they use in auto shops? I've seen grown men struggle with those. By my figures that is $100 she would have cost the family for attempting something which she knew she was unable to accomplish. His leg powered mode of transport was free. On the other hand, she would have ruined her shoes in the mud on the side of the road, and in attempting to remove the lug nuts a nail would have been broken... possibly even an acrylic which would cost more, and in order to make the lug nuts budge she would have stepped on the lug wrench and fallen on her ass. Those pants and possibly the jacket would have had to go to the cleaners.
Dry Cleaning- $10
This was a great example of why he's a better person than I am. Had I arrived on that scene for one of my kids let's say; I would have stood there and instructed them how to do it in order to prove that they at least tried. As a woman though, I can see myself doing the following manipulative things (because I have.. not gonna lie):
1. Gotten a flat tire and pulled to the side of the road and promptly lifted the hood of the vehicle to signal distress knowing full well you have no engine issue.
Kind Motorist- "What seems to be wrong? What noise is it making?"
Me circa 1991- "It's making a thumping noise and the car is wobbling." Concerned expression.
Motorist- "Well, it looks like you have a flat tire."
Me- "Oh, wow I feel stupid. Do you know where my spare might be?"
2. Stood in front of car with the hood raised and several quarts of oil and a filter balanced on the engine looking confused.
Me- Confused look and chewing my lip.
Passing guy in the apartment complex - "Whatcha doin' Ang?"
Me- "Well I was going to change the oil and I found the oil cap, but I don't know where to put the filter."
Guy- "You have no idea what you're doing, do you?"
Me- Sad face. "No, my ex used to change the oil."
Guy- "Let me get my filter wrench."
3. Bought the parts to fix something knowing you CAN fix it, but still bribe someone else to fix it for you.
Me- "Alex is Zach going to be around today?
Alex- "Yeah, he said he was going to stop by after work."
Me- Do you suppose I could get him to take the light panel off in the trunk of the car so replace the brake light? I'll cook for him."
Alex- "I can ask." Disgusted glare.
Me- "Oh! He can take Jacob out with him and teach him how to do it!"
I'm not going to pretend I didn't try to talk his wife's way out of the situation with all sorts of Angie Rationalizations, but in the end I am here to friend up. Here goes.
Chas, that is terrible! I can't believe she would make you cycle all the way back in the rain to do a job she knows full well she should have attempted BEFORE asking you to help. I would have given her a right piece of my mind. Wow. Unbelievable. That's just ridiculous. You're a good man and she's lucky to have ya!"
Do you ever have a hard time empathizing with your friends?