I called the maintenance man to fix my kitchen light because it was obviously having wiring problems. I flipped the switch last week, the light flickered and then died. There are two bulbs in the light, so there was no way they would burn out at the same time. The kitchen light fixture is heavy and made of glass. I avoid removing it because one day I’ll try unscrewing it, lose my balance, break my neck and my cats won’t even be able to eat my body for sustenance because I will be surrounded by deadly broken glass.
So, the maintenance man came and checked my breaker box, flipping the switches enough times that I had to reset my stereo clock. Then he got on his ladder, unscrewed the light fixture, replaced my light bulbs and before God could say “Let there be light” the kitchen was bright enough that you could see all the food crumbs on the tile floor.
“Oh, wow, that was embarrassingly easy,” I said feeling dumber than the countertop.
“No problem,” he said, probably grateful this was an easy problem to solve. Either that, or he was silently making a “How many single, white, females does it take to change a lightbulb?” joke.
Tuesday evening I hopped in my car to meet some people for dinner, but instead of making a “Vrooom!” sound the engine made a “Crick, crick, crick, crick” sound followed by silence. I called by brother for a ride to the fairly important dinner meeting and got his voicemail. I started make half-baked plans about running to the restaurant, when he called me back and chauffeured me to my meal.
The radio still worked and the lights came on, so I figured this was not a battery problem since the battery was obviously working. The next morning I called AAA and a nice bearded man with a big belly and an even bigger truck parked behind my car. I signed the paper, did a stirring interpretation of the “crick, crick, crick, crick” sound for him over the roar of his truck’s engine, and he quickly determined, “It’s probably the battery.” He hooked up his jumper cables, stuck my key in the ignition, and whallah, my car was running.
“Oh, wow, that was embarrassingly easy,” I said feeling dumber than the blacktop.
“No problem,” he said, probably grateful that he didn’t have to put down his flatbed to tow me to Firestone.
So, I have felt like a moron twice this week, which is odd for me because usually I feel quite capable. It’s a downer because I feel like I’ve badly represented my gender, reinforcing stereotypes that women can’t fix cars or electrical equipment. I have to remind myself that I was able to talk intelligently about domain hosting options and server configurations to my dinner companions who looked at me with the same confusion I gave the AAA guy.
It’s just a reminder that depending on your circumstances, everyone looks stupid eventually. These moments where I look like a dolt, are balanced by the times when I fix someone’s computer in 2 minutes when they’ve spent 2 hours trying to connect to the Internet. I know a lot about certain things, but very little about others. But at least I can learn. Next time I’ll be checking my light bulbs and getting out my jumper cables before I call for help. Which will be pretty weird if it turns out just the toaster is broken.