I’ve had three misadventures with my car in the last three months.
The first strike happened a couple of months ago, back in May, when my cousin and I took our niece to Waiheke Island (in New Zealand) for the first time. We had to rent a car or freeze in the cold walking up the hill to a winery to have a late (and slightly overpriced) lunch and take in some fancy views overlooking the water. After a lazy afternoon of high tea and photos, we made our way back to the rental’s parking lot, and long story short, I got stuck in a dip, destroyed the front bumper and panicked. A few seconds later, a car pulled up in the yard, a guy and a woman got out and approached us. He introduced himself as the owner’s daughter’s boyfriend (“Hi, I’m the owner’s daughter’s boyfriend” is what he literally said) and asked us if we were alright. After we filled him in on what happened, he asked for the keys and tried to get the wheels out of the dip. With no luck, he rang the owner. “This happens all the time, you’re definitely not the first one to get stuck here,” he said after hanging up. He told us not to worry about it because we bought insurance and all we had to do was hurry along to the next ferry going back home. (Always get insurance, friends!)
Strike two was a month ago. I was on my way to town to grab a quick lunch and my car started spasming out of nowhere. My battery light was switched on, and luckily I got to pull over to the side of the road before my engine died completely. I rang roadside rescue and they sent a truck to get my car towed to the garage to get fixed. The mechanic who got the tow truck in caught me baffled, and kindly talked me through what might need replacing, gave me a ride to the garage, and talked to the mechanic for me. I didn’t understand a thing. All I had to do was wait for a couple of hours before it was back to normal.
The last strike was only a couple of days ago (as I write). Guy backed out from his parking slot and didn’t see I was behind him (waiting to merge onto traffic). He got out of the car, made sure I was ok, checked the damage, prompted me to take a photo of his registration plate and left me with his business card and insurance details. I didn’t have to lift a finger until I had to call insurance to make a claim.
Maybe I’m just absolutely useless with cars, and maybe fortunate enough to cross paths with nice strangers, but these recent encounters have heightened my admiration for man’s natural strength, leadership and action. In those moments, I just felt carried and taken care of. What a simple, consoling and beautiful thing that many would resist (#StrongIndependentWomen).
In a world full of agitated advocates for “equal rights”, it would have been acceptable to refuse the help that I got from those people. And because they were men, that would’ve even been more of the norm. In many aspects, I think that many of us think we are robbed of opportunities to show the world that we also have the same abilities and strengths, the moment that we allow others to showcase those abilities and strengths. It seems we have created a battlefield where depending on and celebrating each other is against the rules, where “strong, independent women” is a battle cry for refusing help because “I can do it just as well, and maybe even better, I’ll show you”.
I’ve been reading Venerable (yes, wow) Fulton Sheen’s “The World’s First Love” for the longest time (unable to finish immediately because two paragraphs honestly take five business days to process). What he had to say about the world’s outcry for equality really spoke volumes:
“If women, in the full consciousness of their creativeness, say to the world: “It takes us twenty years to make a man, and we rebel against every generation snuffing out that manhood in war,” such an attitude will do more for the peace of the world than all the covenants and pacts. Where there is equality there is justice, but there is no love. If man is the equal of woman, then she has rights – but no heart ever lived only on rights. All love demands inequality or superiority. The lover is always on his knees; the beloved must always be on a pedestal. Whether it be man or woman, the one must always consider himself or herself as undeserving of the other.”
In fear of submission, passivity and being perceived as weak, we have forgotten to let men do and we’ve forgotten to just be. We aggressively climb our way to get on that pedestal, when there are people who are actually willing to carry us up there with care. So, go on, walk through that door he opened for you. Let him carry that bag. Let him fix your car. Let him give you a ride. Let him protect. Let him carry. Let him lead. Let him do. Let us give back to men the opportunity to love the best way they can, and gain back our confidence in that love we rightfully deserve as #StrongAndDependentWomen.