“I just need an oil change and maybe check the windshield wiper fluid?”
“Part of the package, ma’am”
“OK.” I get out of my car and hand him my keys. “I’ll be at McDonalds,” I tell him. I’m doing the oil change on my way home from morning classes on a Friday. There is a mountain of papers to grade in a box in the back seat. I ponder taking a few to grade as I wait. “Good idea,” I think. I grab about ten of them.
As I’m walking across the parking lot toward McDonalds, I hear, “Ma’am! Ma’am! Wait!” He catches up to me. “You drive a clutch.”
“Yep I do. Always have, well, mostly.”
“I didn’t know any ladies drove a standard.”
I look at him. “Do YOU?” I ask him. He’s pretty young. He might not.
“Uh, well, no, I’m learning. Just that it might take a little longer. I have to wait for the boss to get back from lunch to get your car in the bay.”
“Seriously?” I ask, not angry. I don’t really care where I grade papers.
“I’m sorry. We’ll knock a few bucks off the price.”
“It’s not that. I…” I realize anything I say is going to insult this kid. I just say, “No worries, but, you know, you probably should learn that. My car can’t be the ONLY standard transmission that’s come in here.” It’s only 3 years old. I mean, it’s not a 1955 Ford named Homer.
“We don’t get many and most of those are trucks.”
“Just give me a call when it’s finished. I’ll be right here grading papers.”
“You’re a teacher?”
“I’m going to college. I’m majoring in automotive technology.”
I think — but don’t say — “Cool, soon you’ll know how a clutch works.” I say, “Good for you! See you later!” He ought to be minding the store, not standing in the McDonald’s parking lot with me.