Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Time for a change... Oil that is.

My car is overdue for an oil change, so yesterday I went out and bought some oil and a filter.  Believe it or not, I can change my own oil! :p  Generaly Dad does most of the work, and I just do this and that to make the process faster and easier.  Still I have seen it done often enough I'm quite sure I could do it though.  but my great automotive prowess is beside the point.  Ha!

So, back to the car parts store!  I walked in and the guy at the counter asked if he could help me.  I explained that I needed 5 quarts of Mobil 1 5W-30 and a filter appropriate for a 2007 PT Cruiser.  In a flash, he had the oil on the counter and had recommended a filter.

In past blogs I have mentioned that my middle name is Shannon, and that I use it pretty much everywhere. My first name I inherited from my Dad.  It is not nearly as androgynous.  No one ever uses that name, and its no longer even on any of my credit cards except for one. That particular card was the one I chose for this purchase.

Let's hypothetically say my given name is Jim Shannon Smith, and that this particular card says Jim S Smith.  When I handed it over the clerk checked the name and said, "Oh, Jim Smith! Is that Jim Smith from  Ziguflia?" (I'm not really from Ziguflia, thats hypothetical again.)  The clerk was a bit older than my Dad, and that's obviosuly who he was referring to.

I'm in guy mode of course, so I reply "Yes, I'm his son."  At that point he looked a bit puzzled and asked me to repeat, so I told him again.  He looked more confused than ever.

"Uh.. hmm... uh... Well!" he eventually replied.  "He's a fine fell'er."


Then I remembered the other two times I have bought oil, both at this same store.  The first time, I fumbled for a way to carry 5 quarts of oil.  The second time, I noticed there were baskets at the door. But never has anyone asked me what I wanted when they saw me standing in the oil section and started getting it for me.  Also, it was odd to assume the card wasn't mine, but rather a relative's.  The total confusion at finding out I was his "son", after I had handed him the credit card he presumed was my Dad's.

It seems to add up. I think he perceived me as female right up until the moment when I used the word "son."  I left soooooo happy!

A few weeks earlier I called for Mom and Dad to close their satellite internet account, since we are finally able to get DSL here.  The subject of my gender never came up, as I only stated that I was calling to close Jim Smith's account.  He was super sweet to me, and in the end he explained that he was sending a pre-paid box for some of the satellite gear.  "Where is the dish mounted?"

"On the corner of the roof."

"Will your husband or someone be able to climb up and get that down for you?" :):):):)

In both instances I'm extremely happy  that they got my gender right.  (Presumably in the oil instance.)  Friends have been telling me that my days as passing as a guy are pretty much over, but I never really believed.  Now I am starting to see it and I'm thrilled!

But does anyone see a pattern here?  Apparently I should need help picking out my oil? I admit I had to look it up in the manual right before I walked in the store, but still!  And have my husband climb up and take down a piece of metal held by a few bolts. Oh really?  What an assumption.  For the most part women are more graceful than men.  Plus we don't have that invulnerability complex that men have in most instances  All in all I'd say I'm safer on a roof than most men. I'm not super strong but I think I could probably unscrew some bolts holding a satellite dish too.

If women are supposed to be helpless and inept at all skills other than changing diapers and curling hair, I'm going to have a hard time passing. LOL!!  Still its all very flattering though.  I'm so happy, and I'm very convinced everything is going to work out.  Maybe someday I really will have a husband.  And if he insists, he can do all the ladder climbing, wrenching and oil changing. I won't miss it.


Melissa said...

I had to chuckle while reading this. What a wonderful post! "You've come a long way baby!"

You have courage girl. I use to change my oil years ago, but I don't have a flat piece of ground to park my truck on now, so I take it down the road to the local garage and auto parts store, and let them do it. It saves my knuckles, and more importantly, my nails!

Melissa XX

Jenny said...

Stage one: not passing

Stage two: Passing! How cool!

Stage three: Hey! He treated me like a helpless woman!

Stage four: Wow, maybe I can use my girl powers to manipulate and exploit these stupid blokes into doing stuff for me!

Every now and then the part of me that can't quite let go of decades of male gender conditioning realises it's just had a stage four pulled on it.

I change my oil on my spare car and bike but have someone else do it on my daily. What does that say abut my faith in my oil changing ability?

Stace said...

Well done twice, looking at the last pic you posted I would say that you have no problems passing.

I frequently get called madam on the phone, and yes when it's technical related I do get talked down to. Quite annoying when speaking to someone who knows nothing, and it's my job.

As for servicing... The Volvo gets serviced at the dealer for the stamp in the book, the bike and the Spitfire I do myself. I don't enjoy it per say, but it's cheaper than paying someone when I don't need that stamp...


caroline said...

The unexpected acceptances are the sweetest, even at my great height it happens in my inbetween world.

Caroline xxx

Anonymous said...

Next time you get the chance, say "daughter." :)Suzi

Sonora Sage said...

Funny how stereotypes persist despite reality. I have a masters in automotive engineering, yet would never attempt to change my own oil. (having grown up in an environment without adult males to show me, perhaps?)

When I was married, I probably would have been the one to go up and unbolt the satellite dish, although my husband might have held the ladder for me, if I was lucky. (He wouldn't have changed the oil either!)

And although I can curl my hair, I don't think any attempt at diaper changing would be a success. I know I'm outside the gender norms as far as skills go, but I'm not unique by any means.

"Passing", such as it is, seems to depend much more on appearance and voice than what you do in life. Sounds like you're pretty much there! Congratulations. Welcome to a world where gender isn't defined by roles. (well, we can hope...)

Tina said...

Personally, I don't think you have a prayer of passing as a male, no matter how you dress. Probably haven't in a very long time. So glad you are now seeing it too. Just be yourself and live your life, others will see it too. :)

<3 Tina

Leslie Ann said...

What a sweet and funny post, Shan. I'd love to see the car parts guy's face when you said "son"! I have never doubted your ability to succeed at all this, just sometimes wondered about your lack of patience!

Well done, babe!