Monday, June 23, 2008

Inflation and Deflation

My bike tires needed air and Paula (my VW Bug convertible) is ill-equipped for bike hauling, so I borrowed my folks van last night. In my west-facing driveway, with my little dog Cassie bouncing around the front seats and the sun boring down on us both, I wrangled my bike into the back of the van, pushing from the back then crawling in from the middle to hoist and pull the damn thing. Back and forth. Back and forth, until the back wheel cleared.

"I do not want to do this two more times," I thought and then slipped into the comfortable idea that someone at the gas station would offer to help. Off we went.

When the kids were young, I bought a three-person SeaDoo. We had a flotilla of floaty things upon which I pulled my them and their friends around many of the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota plus quite a few in other states and Canada. We had the routine down pat. I pulled the trailer around and stopped near the ramp. The kids grabbed their gear and piled out onto the nearest grassy area. I unloaded whatever floaty things we'd brought, along with coolers and ropes and whatever.

By the time I got back to the driver's door, some guy was always, always lurking there, offering to back the jet ski down the ramp and put it into the water. Honest to God, even if there wasn't another car in the parking lot or another soul in sight when we pulled in, some guy would materialize out of thin air the moment I parked that trailer near a ramp.

I always declined. Mostly politely, but to tell the sad truth, it kind of irritated me that random guys thought they knew more about backing my vehicle and my trailer than I did. After struggling to learn, I took perverse pride in being able to put that trailer down any ramp, any where.

(Yes, I WAS overcompensating. Thank you for noticing.)

Anyway, history suggested that help might arrive if I needed it.

History was wrong.

I got the bike out okay but failed to understand the Free Air machine. Rather than adding air, I let every stinking bit out of the front tire. When I finally figured it out and filled the tire, part of the tube inflated outside the rim. Ooops. The only way to tuck it back into place was to deflate the tire, but I couldn't do that with the air running and I didn't know how to turn it off. Struggle ensued.

Cars entered the area. Cars left the area. The place was crawling with guys, the kind of guys who once tripped over themselves trying to help me. One sat in his truck not five feet away the whole damn time this was going on.

Finally, the air machine went off. (It's on a timer!) I got the front tire straightened out, inflated the back tire, and wrestled the bike back into the van. Only five trips from front to back before I got the door closed—not bad.

On the last trip around the van, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the van's windows. A lot has changed since the SeaDoo days, and it isn't the guys.

Back when I could attract help, I was too damn stubborn to take it. Now that I want it, the magnet's lost its charge.

C'est la vie. Even I have to admit it's pretty funny.


Go Mama said...

I think you're beautiful Jerri, and clearly more than competent!!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

(Yes, I WAS overcompensating. Thank you for noticing.) LMAO!!!!!

That magnet hasn't lost its charge! Maybe you're just holding it the wrong way?

doubting thomas said...

Pity they didn't get close enough to see the brown eyes and hear the voice....I guarantee you help would have ensued.

Seriously, in defense of my gender, its sometimes hard to know how a clearly competent woman will feel about a man offering assistance. We've changed, true, but so have the times. Offered to help a woman lift down a bag from the overhead tonight mistake.

Suzy said...

I think the magnet is working fine.

Remember,opposites attract...

Love you.


Deb said...

What would have happened if you had asked for help?

You are beautiful, charismatic and amazing. There's not a damn thing wrong with your magnet, dear friend!

Jerri said...

You know, Deb, I think I would have asked for help if I absolutely could not manage to get it done myself.

Isn't it strange that I would have gladly accepted help I never thought to ask for?

Thanks for asking the question.

Steph said...

So funny you wrote this, mentioning the seadoo and all. I was just talking about it the other day with some girlfriends of mine. I think those were some of the funnest days of my life. Although I don't remember these random approaching men (I was focused on floaties)...I do remember that you got that seadoo in the water JUST fine if I do say so myself. Thanks for those fun memories I had the delight of remembering the other day.