Saturday, 12 September 2009


If you are changing the headlamp bulb on your car, and someone comes to offer to help, what do you do?

Because there’s only one blown-out headlamp bulb, and there’s only one spanner. So the option isn’t really ‘help’, so much as ‘doing it for you’.

It’s nice when people offer help. They’re being nice. It’s what nice people do.

But you don’t need the help. You’ve got a spanner, and a bulb, and the know-how.

My new neighbour came over when he saw me under the bonnet of the car. To help. (I suspect, when he saw the very short-haired girl who looks like a boy, wielding a spanner and capably doing basic mechanical things on a car, he may have Surmised some Things. Surmisingly.) Anyway though, we talked for a bit. He has a daughter in Melbourne, so we talked about Australia. While we talked, I changed the headlamp.

There was a pause. Then he said, “Well, you’re a handy girl.”

I’m not. I’m not a ‘handy girl’.

But I’m someone who can read instructions and learn to do things. And if I can do them, I’m unlikely to hand them over and have you do them, is all.


Karen said...

I see you've moved next door to the last male least we can hope he's the last!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to disappoint but there are a few squillion male chauvanists here in China... though there would need to be exchanging of cash before they helped you out!


Amber said...

O, you are all so jaded. He was a nice man trying to be nice. He just needs a different vocabulary.