A Middle-Aged Woman Laughs at Life–and Tires
By: Mary Fran Bontempo

Last week, I found myself in one of my most un-favorite places—the tire store. At least, that’s what I call it. It’s one of those car places which men frequent for fun and I enter only because my car has refused, for one reason or another, to take me where I want to go.

On this particular day, I perched myself on the edge of a chair provided in the waiting room while the car guys repaired a tire and replaced it on my daughter’s car. I say “perched” because the chairs provided appeared to have had interesting histories, if their spotted upholstery was any indication. I figured balancing tenuously on the edge was my best bet to keep the “history” on the chairs and not on my posterior.

I imagine the scene around me was typical of tire stores—around ten well-used chairs, an assortment of magazines, all sporting cover photos of things with gleaming engines and, of course, tires, and a small television which I watched, horrified, as some apparently unbalanced youth raced his motorbike up a ramp, sailed off the ramp’s end and landed unceremoniously on his back, the bike crashing beside him in the process. I gasped. The young man sharing the waiting room with me barely looked up.

In short, I found myself drowning in testosterone.

At that point, another woman entered the bastion of male-ness. She approached the counter. “I need a tire,” she said. “I have my husband’s car and I think the tire has a slow leak. I just want it replaced.”

“Sure,” the tire guy responded. And then, “Do you know what size the tire is?”

The woman simply stared at him. I did the same thing from my edge on the chair.

Size? I didn’t know tires had a size. Yes, I know that trucks have bigger tires than cars, but these were the only two subdivisions as far as I was concerned. I realized this could be an entirely new world of information. And then I realized something else: I don’t care. I don’t care if tires come in sizes any more than I care why the hardware store stocks 873 different kinds of nails. I also don’t care why the lawn mower won’t start or why the red engine light keeps flashing in the car. I don’t care. I just want it fixed.

Apparently, the woman didn’t care either, as she continued to stare mutely.

“Right,” the mechanic said, suddenly realizing the absurdity of his question. “Let’s take a look.”

Had my life depended on it, I couldn’t have answered his question. Then again, it’s not my territory and I don’t care what the answer is. That’s a guy problem.

Now before you men go crowing in satisfaction, let me ask you a few questions.

What’s the name of your daughter’s best friend?

Which of your children refuses to eat red meat?

What is the date of your parents’ wedding anniversary?

Do you know when you’re due for a dental check-up?

And finally, do these shoes match this outfit?

Ha! I thought as much. Not only do you not know, you really don’t care, do you?

So for future reference, even if we happen to be in some guy sanctuary like a tire store, when we tell you something is broken, especially something that’s noisy, spews smoke and is made of metal, don’t ask us questions; just fix it.

In return, we’ll try and refrain from asking you what shoes match our pants.

Because if the truth be told, we know that you just don’t care.

What do “not care” about?  Click “comments” below, in red, and tell us about it.