OK, let me start by saying that I am a girl.
In fact, I couldn't argue if you wanted to say I am a girly girl.
When I was about 10 I guess I asked my "crazy" Grandaddy what made a car go. The man didn't skip a beat. He told me EVERYTHING. From the electrical switch that energizes when you turn the key, to what spark plugs do, to the basic mechanics of the internal combustion engine including why we have to put gas in the car, to why we put air in the tires to what a muffler does and why the tailpipe goes from the muffler all the way to the end of the bumper instead of ending at the muffler.
I mean, do YOU know why we have brake fluid?? Or what a master cylinder does??
Next I asked him (can you see a pattern here?) what made a train go. He was a switch man for Union Pacific Railroad for 40ish years. That day I learned about steam engines, electric engines, diesel engines. You name it. I spent a goodly part of my childhood sitting at his feet listening. Asking questions and listening.
When I was 16 my Dad gave me my first car. A 1981 Mazda GLC 323 5 speed. I named him Bozo. Before my Dad let me drive away in the car that first day there were a few things I had to do. 1) Rotate the tires. 2) Check ALL fluids 3) Change the air filter 4) Analyze the radiator fluid for antifreeze level 5) Demonstrate how and when to use the jumper cables (did I mention this was in 1992?).
See, in my family no one ever thought twice about teaching a girl all about cars. I had no idea this was unusual till I went to college. I went to Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Land of the Baylor Bow-head.
When I was a Sophomore there was this car in the parking lot across from my dorm that kept having the alarm go off. Stupid thing would bleat all night long. One day I'm pulling into the lot from work and there's a girl there at the car looking lost. I mean LOST. I ask her if she needs help. She says that her alarm must have been going off again last night because now the car won't start. Oh, I have jumper cables, you want a jump? Do you know how to use them?? (AHA, Bow-head alert!) Yes, pop the hood and I'll fix you up. OK, now her car looked a little different inside from mine. I don't remember what the make/model was but let's just say it wasn't a 13 year old Mazda. The battery appeared to have some sort of a shield over it. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to get the thing off. I asked Ms Bow-head how to get the shield off. "I don't know, when I call the tow truck, they always tell me to sit in the car while they fix it, then when they say so I start it up." WHAT??? I told her in no uncertain terms that when the tow truck showed up this time she needed to STAND OVER HIS SHOULDER and learn how to jump her own dad-gum car!!! And, by the way, your alarm is too stinking sensitive to be in a busy dorm parking lot all the time, take it in and have it turned down. "They can do that??"
In my Junior year there was a car fire in that same lot. Apparently another Ms Bow-head had just returned from a trip home. While she was home her parents had taken the car in for minor repairs. During the 3 hour drive back to Waco she noticed puffs of smoke drifting up from under the hood, but figured it must be ok since they'd just got it out of the shop. She got to Baylor, parked in the lot, got out of the car and as she was walking away from it the engine exploded.
So, ladies, in memory of my recently departed Grandaddy I beseech and implore you. Find out what to say to a car repair man who wants to sell you Halogen Fluid for your headlights. AND TEACH YOUR DAUGHTERS ALSO!!!
During my session with the shooting instructor he told me that he had taught self defence at Texas Women's University. He said they covered everything from handling of firearms to changing a tire. Because any situation that puts you at the mercy of an unknown stranger is dangerous.
Anyway, that's my rant for today.