My oil light flicked on and off the other day so this conversation happened with Wolf...
Sounds pretty easy, right?
I popped by an auto shop to grab some oil. I had just spent the morning sitting on a non-waterproof picnic blanket on the wet ground so my pants were wet... I was looking forward to getting home, not to this. I had Wolf's assurance that it was as simple as walking in and grabbing some oil. What could go wrong? (Other than that my pants looked like I had wet myself... and I had a sense of impending doom rising in the pit of my stomach... Auto shops and I don't get along, I've never had particular success in finding what I need without running into some kind of issue.)
Well this is what could go wrong.
Apparently it's not as simple as all that. It seems there is a choice of 37493 different oils and when you use their handy dandy little oil selector iPads strapped to the shelves they only tell you the 35 options for your car from that one brand... they don't consider that you have 639 different brands to pick from.
So I sent Wolf another text...
Stupid phones cutting down the image for a preview
made it look like there was only 375 choices.
Thankfully a kind assistant came to help me hurry up so I could get my 4 kids who were touching their stock out of the store. The assistant dude helped me pick some and said I needed to put some in immediately if it's so low that the light is coming on. So out to the carpark, kids safely in the car, I pop the bonnet and start trying to get the oil cap off. I can get it to move a tiny bit, but it's pretty much stuck. I wrestle with it, move around to get a better grip, battle it as best I am able but it won't move. The benefit of this is that my shorts have dried now while doing oil cap battle in the sun. Short of climbing up in the engine cavity to get a better handle on it there is nothing left that I can do, nothing other than to use my finely tuned mother skills on it. I stand back and stare at it hoping to frighten it into submission with my displeased gaze... I hear laughing. Surely the cap is not laughing at me. There's nearly 12 years of practice in that displeased gaze... I can break a child's will with that gaze. A ute a few cars down has two blokes in it, one about my age, one in his 60s, I soon realise it's them laughing, and they are clearly laughing at me. Not even trying to hide it.
Their arrogance makes me more determined. I grab a tissue to try and clean the cap to maybe get a better grip... It continues for what seems like a very long time out in the Townsville sun.
Eventually, defeated, I gather my stuff and load it in the car with one last displeased stare at the now closed bonnet. Out of the corner of my eye I notice one of the guys, the younger one, walking over. "Do you need a hand at all? I saw you struggling." I resist the urge to vent my frustrations about his arrogant laughter and accept his help.
He goes to twist the cap... It doesn't budge.
He uses a little more force... It stays stuck.
He makes a lame joke about how it's been put on really tight... I am not feeling like joking.
He tries to not grunt as he uses all his effort to finally make it loosen.
Old mate in the ute cheers for him.
I thank him, he gets in his ute, and they drive off (making it appear they were hanging around for the show and nothing else, though I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming there is more to their story). I stay and fill my engine oil then take my kids home with yet another undesirable auto shop experience under my belt.
An artists cynical impression of the events unfolding
The moral of this story, for those who desire a point to blog posts, is that kindness is free, and laughing at someone who is doing their best at a task and still failing, instead of offering to help, is not only unkind, but a waste of their time and yours.
The corollary is that if you are going to laugh at someone struggling to do a task, you'd better make darn sure that you are confident in your ability to do it effortlessly!
I am honestly thankful that he offered his help when he didn't have to. I also appreciated the chance to share with my kids how it made me feel to be laughed at and that I expect great things of them, kindness even when it's not expected or necessarily your responsibility is the least of these.