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Monday, 25 June 2012

A Tomboys day at the garage...

Days like this highlight to me how girlie I actually am, and, that having all boys around me have contributed to the slipping of my 'ultimate tomboy' crown.

When I was 17 years old, I lived in Barbados.  I climbed trees and stripped car engines in my spare time, much to the dismay of my Great Aunt who was charged with cultivating me.   Everyone urged me to 'act' like a lady, except, my beloved cousins (all boys, 12 of them no less) and uncle who introduced to me to an amazing old ex-navy engineer who stripped, cleaned and re-built old engines to pass time.  We became the best of friends, the 17 year old and the 82 year old, with stories of distant lands, naughty exploits with foreign women and an appreciation  of the young English accent, Nathaniel Butcher, Nat, fuelled my boyish temperament.  How he would be shaking his long, wrinkled and slightly crooked finger at me today if he were alive..  To Nat,  I apologise, I appear to have turned into the stereotype I fought so hard to avoid.

Today I took the car to the garage to be 'checked out'.  My husband usually does this as he is an ex boy racer and holds a knowledge about cars I have yet to possess.  It seemed to start so well, I bundled the baby into his seat at the back of the car, we have a Mercedes 7 seater jeep, which is much larger than I would prefer but is necessary to accommodate 'The Walton family' as we have recently been labelled!

I drove to the mechanics garage which is in a row of others a bit like the red light district of garages...  Open doors, men standing around, talking, asking if you were there for them,  Soho eat your heart out!

It's a one way road which is packed with other cars so I had to manoeuvre quite cautiously and, as I couldn't remember which garage I needed to stop at, I kept my eyes keenly on each side of the road hoping to see our mechanic.  I very quickly became aware that I was the only female along this stretch of about 20 garages... mmm, maybe I should have worn something other than the Hollister vest which accentuated my engorged breasts.  Eyes were very much on me as I spoke with my mechanic, he seemed to be talking a whole other language, I just about understood that I was being directed to another garage 7 minutes away for an MOT.  The MOT mechanic was not impressed as I was late by his reckoning and according to his arrangement with my own mechanic, who had failed to share this arrangement with me.  This new mechanic proceeded to bark orders at me as I clumsily drove in through the entrance of his building, trying to be cautious
'Put it over there!'

I felt tears well up in my eyes as I felt I had lost all control and was embarrassed, the baby began to scream and I began to sweat; when asked to provide old MOT papers my hands shook as I attempted to look for something that wasn't there.  What a palaver!  The MOT mechanic obviously felt sorry for me as he softened his tone and told me not to worry and that I should give the baby a cuddle.  When did I become this stereotype of a girl?  I don't ever remember being conscious that I was female in the presence of men only, until today!

I can honestly say that I never want to go through any of it again, and, on top of it all, I still have not a clue as to what needs doing to the car, when my husband asked at the end of the day all I could do was hand him the passed MOT certificate.
'Well' he said, 'it should be a lot easier when you take it in on Wednesday'.....

At least I have one day to 'man up'!  I think I need to pull out my old photo album for a little bit of reminiscent dutch courage, then kick a bit of ball at the park tomorrow with the boys after school, and if that doesn't work, a Yorkie bar for breakfast on Wednesday morning!

Tomboy -x