Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Wood Trick

Since it's starting to get colder, and the prospect of snow is just around the corner, I figured I'll tell a winter story.

It was in March of 1999, and we had 12 feet of snow at my host family's house in Vermont. One person had already gotten stuck in the steep slope of the driveway; a second car was stuck in the parking lot near the house.

My host father was out for 15 minutes trying to get the little red Toyota out. Bundled up in my winter coat, scarf, hat and gloves, I watched him and asked questions.

Was it a standard car? Yes, it was. Had he tried to start it in the second or third gear? Yes, he had.

Finally, he left to go inside to get something, and I walked over to the garage and picked up two pieces of flat wood, which I put under the back tires. When my host father came back out, I was just starting the car again.

“Ah," he said and smiled. "The Wood Trick.”

He poured some ashes under the tires as well, and with our teamwork we finally got the car moving. Then he looked at me with his eyebrows raised - a little suspiciously, but also a little impressed.

“You’re the only girl I’ve ever met who knew about The Wood Trick,” he said.


Anne Sofie said...

If I hadn't heard years of praise for your host father, I would have gone mad over that "only girl" and called him an male chauvinist pig. Why are people (=men) still surprised that women can handle cars? I've changed a flat tyre in LBD(=little black dress) and high heels - I always have work gloves in my car. And I was only a few minutes late for that dinner...

Vickan said...

See, I don't think he meant it like that in any way.

I think it was the truth. Here in the U.S., there really aren't that many women who know stuff like changing a tire or fixing their furnace etc. And where Host Dad is, especially, I do not think he has come across many that know how to do anything.

There are, of course, exceptions, but here women really do go from dad's house to husband's arms, and whatever new husband cannot fix, dad will still take care of. There isn't the same sense of "I have to know how to do everything to survive," because they know someone else will always take care of them.

I seriously haven't met any women here who know about "the wood trick" or have ever changed a tire. There might be some out there, I've just never come across any on the East Coast of the United States. And that's pretty sad.

anne sofie said...

Do you think we could call them female chauvinist cows? I mean, expecting others (=males) to take care of things "beacuse I'm a woman" is really as bad.