I consider myself to be a strong and independent woman, but quite frankly, there are two things I hate dealing with: money and cars. I mean, I like having money. And I like having a car. I just don't know much about either, and in an anti-NOW/ERA kind of way, I really feel like this is what husbands are for.
Yes, this is silly. Yes, I know plenty of men who know even less about engine tune-ups and mutual funds than I do. But it's my column, so allow me this vast generalization.
Last night, I was hanging out at Cute Boyfriend's house watching the tail end of "Survivor" and discussing how Colby is so screwed unless he keeps winning all the immunity challenges, because the rest of the group is going to vote his ass off.
Suddenly, my cell phone rang. It was my roommate Laura, and she sounded completely panicked. "Lee Anne! Where ARE you? Where is your car?"
I said calmly, "Laura ... I'm at Tony's house. My car is right outside."
Laura: "No it's not. The cops are here. Someone's stealing it!"
I thought that there was clearly some sort of mix-up. I grabbed my jacket and walked out to the elevator, Cute Boyfriend following. Sure enough, when I got outside, there were police officers, a tow truck, and some fun flashing lights.
Apparently, a neighbor noticed two male members of the Bay Area Asian Mafia jacking up my car and stealing the two passenger-side wheels. Not just the rims, but the whole wheel: tire, lug nuts and all. I have extra special rims, or so everyone tells me. (I have no idea. I made Ex-Boyfriend go with me when I was looking to buy a car, and that's the car he thought was best.)
Anyhow, I am sure they would have stolen all four wheels, except the police showed up and chased them through the streets of San Francisco. Unfortunately, the perps were in a Honda ZRX and the cops were in a big wagon, and Michael Douglas wasn't driving. Nor was Mel Gibson. So they lost 'em and didn't even get a license plate number.
I walked towards my car with Cute Boyfriend, and the cops started asking me questions all at once. I can't really remember any of the questions, but I remember that they all needed urgent answers and I was busy checking out the damage, grimacing, growling, and holding back tears.
"Do you want it towed?"
"Do you have insurance?"
"Where should we tow it to?"
"Do you have the keys?" "Do you have a donut in the back?" "Does it have air in it?" "When did you park it here?" "Do you live here?" "What kind of rims are those?" "Do you have the registration on you?" "What is the gross national product of the Republic of China??????????"
I'm a commercial producer. It is my job to stay calm and deal with all the crises that come up during a shoot or edit. It was 9:50pm and I had parked my car in a perfectly safe neighborhood right before rushing in to Cute Boyfriend's house to catch the opening of "Survivor" and I had NO idea what I was supposed to do next. This is the first car I've ever owned. I feel proud of myself when I successfully fill up the gas tank or the windshield washer fluid reservoir. I feel like I deserve a cookie when I bring it to the shop to change the oil. I wouldn't know how to change a tire if you asked me.
I could figure it out, but I wouldn't like it.
So, to the bombardment of questions, my response was to have a complete panic attack. I looked at the cops and whined, "I don't know! This has never happened to me before! You deal with this all the time! What am I supposed to do????"
At this point, one of the male cops looked to his fellow female police officers and said, "Ladies, take care of the lady. We're outta here." And the male cops left.
I was about to get offended that he was treating me like such a chick until I realized that I was 100% ACTING like a chick. "Poor me! What do I do??" as I looked plaintively at Cute Boyfriend. Is this the behavior of a strong and independent woman? Is this the behavior of someone who deals with hundreds of thousands of the client's dollars and solves every problem before it happens? Is this the behavior of the girl who Cute Boyfriend knows and
Cars and Money.
So I called my insurance company, had the car towed to a place in town, and went to bed. This morning the auto place called me with an estimate (I have high-performance tires too -- great -- I never knew), and after having the auto shop approved by my insurance company, I directed them to install the new wheels.
Less than 24 hours after I got the call from my roommate, I am $1,000 poorer (wish Ex-Boyfriend's insurance agent had encouraged me to have a lower deductible) and I have brand new tires, rims, and wheel lock lugs to deter future thefts (wish Ex-Boyfriend hadn't made me buy that "most frequently stolen Acura" in the first place).
See how I did that? I'm blaming it on the man. I trusted Ex-Boyfriend to deal with my car, and this is what happened: I own a car I don't really love, I have an insurance policy that I didn't really choose, and despite the fact that I haven't seen or spoken to him in eight months, I'm blaming him for the fact that some punks stole my wheels and I was ill-equipped to deal with it.
And what I realized is that I can't be a strong and independent woman if I don't know anything about cars and money.
This morning, when Cute Boyfriend offered to go with me to pick my car up from the auto repair shop, I declined.
"I can do it myself."
Got them to knock $50 off the price, too.
Want to play the critic? You can anonymously rate this column and provide the author with constructive criticism. Just sign in or join up. It's free and painless.
CRITIQUE THIS COLUMN
Lee Anne is a frustrated "contributing writer" to the Tufts Daily who has never gotten over getting dissed for a column. As a result, she feels the need to write long, somewhat amusing emails to friends and occassionally submit articles to small publications. During the day, she contributes to "what's wrong with this country" by producing television and radio commericals that make you think you are fat, skinny, hip, unhip, old, young, smart, stupid, grown-up, or just a kid again - depending on which products you buy. Her parents are real proud.
ABOUT LEE ANNE RAMSEY
more about lee anne ramsey
IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
5.7.01 @ 12:09p
Why is it that the things that are supposed to make life more convenient (cars/money) are such a big hassle to deal with? I don't know if a husband/wife is necessarily the answer, but at the very least, we all could use a personal assistant!
5.7.01 @ 1:15p
There are some women who are strong and independant all the time. Frequently, you want to tell them to lighten up. There are some women who, quite frankly, are just girls all the time. Frequently, you want to tell them to grow up. And then there are some who know when it's fine to be strong and independant or when it's OK to be a girl. Those are the best kind. Because usually they can get us $50 off our repair bill...
5.7.01 @ 1:52p
Thank goodness I don't have a car, but I share the money trepidation. A personal assistant and/or husband would in fact be great, and then I might pay ALL my bills on time instead of just SOME of them SOME of the time.
5.7.01 @ 2:31p
"I really feel like this is what husbands are for"??
Is Cute Boyfriend going to write "What I put up with?" Please can we find Ex-Boyfriend, his tales could be the basis for the next Survivor show.
Evidently Cute Boyfriend replaced Ex-Boyfriend who replaced Rich Daddy.
Wow! Going to the repair shop without Cute Boyfriend or Ex-Boyfriend!!! Independent Girl.
5.7.01 @ 3:18p
lee anne ramsey
5.8.01 @ 3:32a
I feel that everyone has something in their life they don't want to deal with: be it cars, money, laundry, dusting, taxes, chauvinistic bosses, or guys who go by "jimmy james" and don't really have much to offer.
lee anne ramsey
5.8.01 @ 3:32a
Did I say that out loud?
5.8.01 @ 9:25a
Technically, no. If it's possible to type something out loud, you did that with panache.
5.8.01 @ 9:57a
Jeez, if I could get someone to crawl under my house and under all the pipes to get to the valve to shut off the water to my icemaker, I'd deal with the questions about my fortitude. Damn, I hate roaches.
5.8.01 @ 10:15a
Lee Anne seemingly subscribes to the Tim Allen theory of man's worth to a woman; we're here to provide lawn care and vehicle maintenance.
michelle von euw
5.8.01 @ 10:54a
Lee Anne, I totally agree with you. It's not a male/female thing, as much as it's a what I'm good at/what I let other people handle thing. I have all these neat gadgets in my kitchen, most of them brand spankin' new, and what do I do? I order pizza.
But I also think police should be more helpful. Most people DONT know what the hell to do when their tires are missing.
5.8.01 @ 11:52a
In this PC world we reside in, I find it insane when people suggest that everyone is "the same." Not everyone can do everything as well as other people. When a feminist suggest, "I can do everything as well as you," I invite her to write her name in the Syracuse snow using her urine… and no funnel; that's cheating. The fact is, we aren't all the same, and it has nothing to do with sex or race. It's only people who tend to enjoy and excel at different things.
Total independence is a myth, because you'll screw something up. (that "jack of all trades, master of none" thing would fit here, if I remembered how it went).
And, if Jael is looking for a personal assistant / and or, "cute boyfriend", I'd like to apply.
lee anne ramsey
5.8.01 @ 10:05p
Tom, I actually like some of the Tim Allen-type of guy stuff. Like using power tools and building maintenance stuff. I'm the only one in my apartment who knows how to use the plunger when the toilet clogs. I just don't like dealing with cars and money. The point I tried to make at the end of my piece (I am now noticing I must have done this poorly -) is that I realize I cannot expect men to do the things I don't want to do.
5.9.01 @ 9:15a
Dear Mr. Walker: Thank you for your interest in the position of Cute Boyfriend. Regret to inform you the Cute Boyfriend position has been recently filled. Have no doubt you will find similar suitable position at likely company.
Lee Anne, I think you made the point just fine at the end of the piece, but most people are reacting to the beginning and middle. And as both Michelle and Jeff have pointed out, people are too quick to attribute dislikes to traditional gender roles when it's just that a person doesn't like what a person doesn't like. My unkempt apartment and well-nigh-empty refrigerator don't make me a man, do they?
5.9.01 @ 9:36a
No, but the hair on your chest might.
5.9.01 @ 9:39a
WHOA! Jael? You just gonna take that?
5.9.01 @ 12:03p
No. No I'm not.
Instead I will point out that Adam, having been eye-level with my chest on occasions where I was wearing a V-necked shirt and his shoes weren't tall enough to put him eye-level with my eyes, is well aware that the said area of flesh is perfectly smooth.
Sheesh, the internet makes people say silly things, doesn't it?
5.9.01 @ 12:31p
No, Jael's right. The few times when I might have inadvertently glimpsed a bit of her clavicular area, there was, in fact, no hair. And yes, I'm short.
5.9.01 @ 2:06p
One, if you're not good with money, why are you buying a car? Obviously, cars are not your "specialty" but it's a pretty well known fact that cars are money pits.
Two, everyone is accountable for their own actions. No one forced you to buy a car or that specific car. Ex-boyfriend was just giving you advice that you probably requested.
And speaking of Ex-Boyfriend, it would seem as though there are some unresolved issues there?
5.9.01 @ 2:36p
Oh, my God. One of the Beastie Boys actually reads IntrepidMedia. I'm kvelling.
Speaking of unresolved issues, I'm not sure what you expect someone who needs a car to do otherwise, whether they're good with money or not. No one says, "Well, I need to drive to work, but I'm bad with money, so I'd better continue to walk there."
5.9.01 @ 3:15p
Exactly. Cars are money pits. So are houses, families, and food. I mean, why eat? You're just going to be hungry again in a few hours, you might as well save the money, right?
I'm lucky enough to live in a city with suitable mass transportation (DC) to get me everywhere I need to go. I'm guessing Lee Anne doesn't have much of a choice in SF. And kudos to her for biting the bullet, by the way, and recognizing that you have to deal with things even if you don't like to deal with them. I'm not as strong, and still in denial about, say, cleaning.
5.23.01 @ 8:59a
Cars and money - two things I love regardless of the amount of pain and agony they constantly put me through!
Disagree? Got ideas of your own? Add to the discussion! Just sign in or join up.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?