Mommy Wants Vodka

…Or A Mail-Order Bride

Because Nothing Says “I Hate You” Like Helping Fix A Flat


Per my insurance company, I had to remain a full-time student while I was pregnant with Ben. Taking the opportunity to enroll in some fluffy classes like “Intro to Shakespeare” and “Intro to World Lit” and my biggest mistake in judgement “Jewelry,” I shlepped my ever-widening ass back and forth to school. The death of my grandmother weeks before this took place meant that I had a car that I didn’t have to borrow to drive, because I was full of The Trash.

As I turned the corner on my way to school one evening, I heard a loud bang and suddenly the car was harder to steer. The car in question was a Escort or something and not an old school Corvette without power steering or something, so this was highly peculiar.

At the soonest place I could turn off, I did so, into a subdivision of new construction houses, each looking exactly like the other. It reminded me of a science-fiction novel or something, like a Group Intelligence or something. Stranger in a fucking strange land.

I pulled my car over to the side of the road, still unsure of what had happened.

I pried myself out of the car with my arms and shuffled pregnantly over to the other side of the car. What greeted me was a completely flat back tire.

Fuck, I swore to myself. I didn’t have a cellphone because I had a pager instead (hey, don’t judge. My pager was all kinds of gold and sexy. And no, I was not a drug dealer) and the nearest gas station was several miles out.

Plus, thanks to Nat’s refusal to give me so much as a dime–he was still convinced I’d gotten pregnant to trap him. For his money or good looks, I asked him when he accused me. He didn’t like that answer–meant that I had no money whatsoever on me.

Stupidly, I’d not paid attention when my father tried to teach me how to change a tire, preferring, I suppose to groan and examine my nails while huffing about how I NEVER needed to know such a STUPID thing, DAD. Now, I was regretting it. Sorely.

I opened the trunk, an exercise in futility, I knew, because even if it had the proper things that one needs to change a tire, I was too large and in charge to sit on a curb and get a busted tire out. If I’d managed to get into the proper position, I knew I’d never get back up again. I’d be stuck in that creepy subdivision with the houses all the same until I birthed my baby, some months later.

I tried to reason that maybe this was for the best as it would prevent me from shoveling more bagels into my mouth, but even then, I knew I was full of shit. I needed help.

I began walking down the sidewalk, breathing a bit heavily from the panic that had now set in, and looking desperately for a house that had Real! Live! People! in it. As a child I’d noted that when people were home, they usually had their garage doors open, so I peered at each closed garage door as I passed it, my impending doom growing.

Finally, about a half a block down from my crippled car, I spied some wee pink bikes in the front yard of a house. Certainly whomever lived there had children and people who had children certainly wouldn’t slice and dice a pregnant woman to chunky pieces in their bathtub!

Still, though, I was nervous. I wasn’t used to relying on strangers for help, but I saw no other option. Waiting there for someone who knew me to stop and help was as futile as trying to win a limbo contest in my largened state, so I steeled myself and went to the front door.

I rang the doorbell and when a man answered it, I breathily spewed out the whole story. When I’m panicked, I tend to rush my words, speaking in one long word in a much higher than normal voice.

“Hi, um, my car broke down, and um, the tire blew out and um, I don’t, um, know how to fix it. And um, I need, um, help.” I squeaked out.

He looked at me, eyes narrowed and nostrils flaring. Could he be angry at me? Did I know him or something? Had I spit in his cheeseburger at some point?

I stood there dumbly, mouth agape and catching flies not knowing what else to do. If he said no, which was fine with me, I’d just go onto the next potential serial killers’ house. He was under no obligation to help me and we both knew it.

Finally, after summing me up, he rolled his eyes at me. He rolled his eyes, sighed deeply as though I was probably the most worthless piece of shit on the planet, and stepped outside, mute. He muttered something to his daughters to stay inside as he gestured that he was going up the street, and walked down the driveway toward my car.

When I sense that someone is upset with me, the stream of words that come out of my mouth goes to 11, and I began to babble earnestly.

“My car, you see, sir, is just down there and I just need someone to help me put the tire on it, and that’s all. Hahaha. I was on my way to school and I just blew a tire and hahaha, now I don’t know what to do because I don’t know how to change a tire.”

He walked a steady clip ahead of me, and I trailed behind like a chubby puppy, still spewing words like diarrhea. Finally, we reached my car and I showed him the spare donut tire in the trunk. He looked at me again, rolled his eyes so far back in his head, I swear they made a chink noise, and eyed me like the moron I was. Disdainful of my very existence.

Thankfully for us both, he took only a couple of minutes to pop the old tire off and put the new one one. I spent most of those minutes thanking him profusely. He didn’t have to help me, he owed me nothing, and yet he helped, I babbled on and on and on. Every now and again, he’d stop, seething, and give me another awful, withering look.

The man who hated me for I’m-still-not-sure-what finished putting the tire on and stood up. I thanked him with such honest sincerity that I nearly cried. I might have cried a little. Shut up.

He glared back at me, clearly angry at me. He grunted an assent, rolled his eyes at me once more, and walked away, hands balled into fists at his side.

I stood there, confused. What.the.fuck just happened?

53 Comments to

“Because Nothing Says “I Hate You” Like Helping Fix A Flat”

  1. On May 29th, 2009 at 12:16 pm Ms. Moon Says:

    Well, he did a mitzvah. Not with grace, but he did it.

  2. On May 29th, 2009 at 12:20 pm Kristina Says:

    What a total asshole. No excuse for that kind of behavior toward a pregnant lady. Maybe HIS wife got pregnant to trap him (obviously for his stunning personality) and he now has a strong aversion towards pregnant ladies…..

  3. On May 29th, 2009 at 12:24 pm aj Says:

    No excuse. He helped change the tire, but one good deed doesn’t undo his attitude. Even if his wife ran off with a mechanic, or you reminded him of his horrible sister, doesn’t matter. No one should display that kind of behavior towards anyone. Sorry you were mistreated. But I am glad your tire was fixed, and that you have the humor about you to retell such a story several years later. Next time someone rolls their eyes like that, tell them never-mind, and then walk away.

  4. On May 29th, 2009 at 12:31 pm The Notorious BEX Says:

    I will always be confused as to why he helped me when he clearly didn’t want to. While I appreciated his help–I wasn’t kidding about the tears–I still am confused. Why help me if he hated me?

  5. On May 29th, 2009 at 12:47 pm Badass Geek Says:

    That just doesn’t make sense. I am just as puzzled as you are.

  6. On May 29th, 2009 at 12:48 pm Minnie Says:

    I’ll go with Kristen. If not the mechanic the guy who teaches wood and auto shop at the local high school

  7. On May 29th, 2009 at 1:00 pm Maria Says:

    A grown man called me an asshole IN FRONT OF MY MOTHER when I was 8 months pregnant with the Chipmunk. I win.

  8. On May 29th, 2009 at 12:01 pm Kristen Says:

    I think his wife had just run off with their mechanic.

  9. On May 29th, 2009 at 1:02 pm SciFi Dad Says:

    He was trying to remain unwelcoming to avoid you inviting yourself into his home or something.

  10. On May 29th, 2009 at 12:10 pm kbrients Says:

    Oh dear. Interesting… sounds like you ‘made’ him get off his ass and he was missing some episode of Jerry Springer… that he DID.NOT.WANT.TO.MISS…… but alas…. you cannot turn a pregnant woman down you know…

  11. On May 29th, 2009 at 12:19 pm Inna Says:

    I’m with Kristen and the mechanic.

    Glad you didn’t take it personally!

  12. On May 29th, 2009 at 12:20 pm Suzy Says:

    Man, he could have at least been polite! I hope he’s really, really fat now, and one day he’ll fall down in the grocery store, and he’ll be all, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Rolling around like the little brother in the snowsuit in “A Christmas Story”. And people will just look down at him and roll their eyes, shake their heads and walk away. Until some kindhearted soul rolls him out the door like Violet Beauregard.

  13. On May 29th, 2009 at 1:33 pm lola Says:

    Maybe he thought you were lazy and faking your knocked-up-ness to get him to change your tire or maybe you were the fourth knocked-up chick that week that banged on his door looking for him to change their tires.

  14. On May 29th, 2009 at 12:48 pm ainebegonia Says:

    Now, not to be contrarian, but is it possible that your hormones and the situation may have colored your vision a bit? He probably didn’t hate you as he did change your tire and the eyerolls, while not polite, could be understood considering some strange pregnant lady just knocked on his door because she got a flat and didn’t know how to fix it.

    If he was being hateful, that’s on him though and has nothing to do with you. Either way, the important thing is that he didn’t slice and dice you and you got tire fixed.

  15. On May 29th, 2009 at 1:48 pm magpie Says:

    That man? Had some other shit going down in his life.

  16. On May 29th, 2009 at 12:55 pm Kyddryn Says:

    Aww, sugar, he didn’t hate you…he saw a young, pregnant girl alone and in need and was angry at the situation…but you? Obviously he had some compassion in his soul, because he saw you as someone needing help…and if he did it with ill grace, it wasn’t your fault…it was the circumstances of your need that irritated him. He probably wondered where your husband was, where the man was who SHOULD have been rescuing you rather than leaving you to struggle on your own.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K (who bets he taught his daughters how to change a flat, check and change their oil, replace a fan belt, and any number of useful things because he remembered you and didn’t want them to have to rely on grumpy strangers for solace)

  17. On May 29th, 2009 at 1:06 pm Swirl Girl Says:

    You probably intrerrupted a new episode of COPS or something. Chivalry died right after he changed your tire.

  18. On May 29th, 2009 at 1:11 pm Karen Says:

    You must have interupted his beer and MASH rerun or something. At least he did help you.

  19. On May 29th, 2009 at 1:13 pm Danielle Says:

    He was and is still so smitten with you that he HAD to act like an asshole. Otherwise he would have swept you off your feet right then and there! Men are like kindergartners sometimes, ya know? He thinks about you to this day. Has even built a shrine with the grease and such that was on his hands after he changed your tire. Awww you have a secret admirer! Maybe you should get in touch with him and he can help you with the kids while The Daver is gone….

  20. On May 29th, 2009 at 2:20 pm nicole h Says:

    obviously the man was an abused idealist, who after years of being put upon by mother, wife and daughters, was listening to a tape on building self-esteem when you interrupted him with your large and pressing need (that last bit – no pun intended.)

  21. On May 29th, 2009 at 1:20 pm Betts Says:

    If you’d stopped at my house, it would have gone more like this. “Sweetie, please change this sweet girl’s tire. What’s your name? Becky? Well, Becky you have a seat. Would you like some lemonaid? Do you need to phone anyone to let them know you’ll be a little late? Oh, Sweetie will drive the car back here after he changes the tire… no sense in you exerting yourself seeing that you’re pregnant. When are you due?” Then we would have had a nice chat while we waiting and you probably would’ve been invited back for dinner some night because we got along so well…. I’m creepy like that… I regular June Cleever.

  22. On May 29th, 2009 at 1:25 pm Soxy Deb Says:

    He was watching wheel of fortune (which I know was on back then because its been on for 7,351 years) and you interrupted that. I don’t blame him for being upset. Have you seen that Pat Sajak lately?

    I feel good (and maybe a little smug – but knocking on wood) saying that I CAN and HAVE changed a tire. In the pouring rain. It may have taken me a Loooooong time, but I did it. 🙂

  23. On May 29th, 2009 at 1:35 pm Kristine Says:

    That is weird. I like the mechanic theory – or the interupting his day of Jerry Springer theory…I’m going to guess that some people are just @$$holes.

  24. On May 29th, 2009 at 1:37 pm Betty M Says:

    Just a weirdo taking out his weirdness on you for having the cheek to come by his neighbourhood.

  25. On May 29th, 2009 at 2:47 pm heather Says:

    When I was a junior in high school (with my newly minted driver’s license), my friend, her boyfriend, his friend, and I were driving to the next town over to go eat. We were in separate cars, and I was awarded the boyfriend’s bff as my carmate. He was an asshole, but I suppose that is neither here nor there. As it doesn’t take much peer pressure to encourage me to misbehave, I revved the engine and proceeded to race my friend down the interstate. Whereupon, I heard a loud pop and grinding noise (which would be my rims scraping the asphalt at 80 mph). I pulled off the exit and drove my limping car to the first subdivision (in an affluent area). The boyfriend and his bff inspected my car and acted like buffoons. We convinced them to go to the nearest house and ask for help changing the tire. They go in and are – literally – inside for like an hour. We go knock on the door to see if they’ve been cut to bits and stored in the freezer, only to find … wait for it … that they AND THE OWNER OF THE HOUSE were stoned off their asses! So these two high school guys show up at your house asking for help changing a tire and you ask them to smoke some weed? Seriously.

  26. On May 29th, 2009 at 3:02 pm Westcoast Weirdo Says:

    I’m married to a mechanic and I *still* don’t know how to change a tire. Doh! I do have roadside assistance tho – that’s my excuse.

  27. On May 29th, 2009 at 2:12 pm lady lemon Says:

    So odd. I wonder what crawled up his ass and die, huh?

    This reminds me of the time I was at the beach with some friend and locked my keys in the car. Two hours out of town, my parents having forbidden me to go (I was about 16 at the time).

    But who should come to my recue? A mediteranean man in a mesh shirt and speedo (I couldn’t make this shit up). He helped me with about the same attitude you described and went on his hairy way.

    Still, I was grateful.

  28. On May 29th, 2009 at 2:13 pm a Says:

    He was either pissed off at your dad/husband/boyfriend for letting you out in the world without the essential knowledge of how to change a tire, or he was pissed off at your dad/husband/boyfriend for letting you out in the world without an escort. My husband is a total chauvinist most of the time, and if I found myself with a flat tire and couldn’t change it, he would a.) berate me for not checking my tires before I left and b.) roll his eyes at me while changing my tire. I’m guessing he had a couple little princesses, who would never have to change a tire or check their own oil in this lifetime. Like my sisters-in-law.

  29. On May 29th, 2009 at 3:16 pm Eva Says:

    Omigod this reminds me of a lot!

    a) I tried to stay in school while pregnant, but had to quit early as I was TOO LARGE TO FIT IN THE DESKS. Plus the classroom was really far from the parking lot, and it was hot. And I was really pregnant. So.

    b) I had a flat tire at 7 months pregnant! And I had to go to a strange house for help! And I got help! What’s weird is it was from a lady who was–get this–on her way to an appointment with an RE! She dropped me off at work where my boss helped me out with her AAA membership.

  30. On May 29th, 2009 at 3:19 pm Sunny Says:

    I bet he thought you got pregnant to trap him into changing your tire.

    You are totally like that.

  31. On May 29th, 2009 at 3:23 pm Jenn Says:

    I just feel bad for the guy’s wife & kids! Yikes.
    I don’t know how to change the tire on a car but I can change the oil.

  32. On May 29th, 2009 at 3:24 pm DG at Diaryofamadbathroom Says:

    Shit. I think that was my dad!

  33. On May 29th, 2009 at 3:59 pm Jenn Says:

    What I hate is that moments like that will stick with you forever. You will always wonder what his deal was. That guy probably doesn’t remember you at all.

  34. On May 29th, 2009 at 4:18 pm GingerB Says:

    I work with the “general” popultion, and honestly, you’d be surprised just how low functioning the low functioning really are. He lacks the social skills to communicate normally, such as saying, yes I agree to help you total stranger and so let’s have a chat while we get the work done, or even to say no but do it nicely. Guaranteed he works either not at all or in a job with little social interaction because he can’t do any more than that. This is proof of why we need to invest in our kids and give then wide ranging experiences and give them the confidence and self sufficency to be capable of dealing with the world, because damn, too many guys like that and we are all doomed. And there are millions of people like this or worse. Now I’ll go smack myself and get a cocktail because too many people like this brought me down some at work this week. Don’t listen to me. It’s not all bad. Kittens, think klittens. Puppies!! Sorry, Becky.

  35. On May 29th, 2009 at 5:16 pm Kendra Says:

    I don’t know what was going on in his head. I could imagine frustration on his part at finding someone who (gasp!) can’t change a tire. But if that’s the case, all he had to do was say “Do it yourself!” and you could have moved on!

    I do in fact know how to change a tire and have done it several times (though never while pregnant; I don’t know how well I would have done under those circumstances). But one of my favorite stories was while I was in college and had just bought my first car–an “86 Subaru. I lived in a tiny town and tended bar at the local Eagles Club. So one day I was sent on a mission to go to all the nearby towns and put up flyers in their bars for some event we were having. After hours of driving around central Minnesota, I was nearly home when I blew a tire. It was dusk when I pulled over and started the long, awful process of trying to change the tire. But no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the damn hubcap off. Finally after a long time (an hour? a week? it was dark), a car pulled up behind me, and a voice said, “Do you need some help?” I felt like screaming, “What do you think? I’m sitting by the side of the road, holding a jack and crying!” But I just said yes. It turned out that the hubcap on the lovely ’86 Subaru was all one piece of plastic, and the bolts I’d spent hours trying to unscrew? They were molded plastic, part of the hubcap, which just popped off. That was the best and worst realization of my life. And the funniest part: the guy who helped me turned out to be my landlord’s son. I was never more grateful to be living in the middle of nowhere; even the stranger behind you on the highway turns out to be someone you know!

  36. On May 29th, 2009 at 6:12 pm Sara Says:

    I vote for people suck, and he was just an asshole.

    Have I mentioned I hate people?

  37. On May 29th, 2009 at 8:51 pm Mimi Says:

    What is it with people being shitty to pregnant women? I always heard that preggo women get special treatment, but the hell if I saw any of that while pregnant. When standing in lines in bathrooms, women would give me a “You ain’t gettin’ in front of me, lady, I don’t care if you’re about to give birth” look.

  38. On May 29th, 2009 at 10:56 pm Dana Says:

    delurking: I don’t remember how I originally came across your blog but when I did, I read some of your archives and have been reading ever since. After reading this post, I was thinking: I swear I have heard this story before. After two kids, my brain is mush so I couldn’t remember if I had just read this on someone else’s blog today (and someone else was taking credit for your writing) or WHAT? Finally figured it out – it’s a post you have in your archives dated December 3rd.

    Still good the second time around!

  39. On May 29th, 2009 at 11:45 pm Amy Says:

    Maybe he’s like my husband and has bulldog jowls and always looks mad and frowny, even when he’s not…. and maybe he has really dry eyes and has to roll them a lot to keep them moisturized. 🙂 See? He wasn’t mad at you! He loved to help you! 🙂

  40. On May 30th, 2009 at 12:02 am ava Says:

    hahaha…that was some weird experience!! maybe he was a god-sent angel in a not soo angelic frame!!! whu cares..u gt wat u needed!!


    Gifts Magazine

  41. On May 30th, 2009 at 3:22 am 'cuz I'm the mommy, that's why Says:

    I’m going to go with Colonel Mustard with the rope in the Conservatory.
    Nah, here’s my guess: wifey called him the day before to come unscrew the gas cap on her car, and the week before to change a tire, and the week before that because the little arrow light kept flashing to the right after she turned left. He was probably frustrated at a woman with no car skillz, and when presented with another, he knew best be quiet. Eyes a rollin’ he still helped out, ‘cuz he also knows karma’s a bitch. And he taught the pink-bike-riding princesses how to change a tire in case they had to. Then they called him every time they got a flat, ‘cuz karma’s a bitch and he totally rolled his eyes at you.

  42. On May 30th, 2009 at 10:15 am Ginger Magnolia Says:

    What a jerk! If he didn’t want to actually change the tire, he could have let you use his phone or something rather than being a total a-hole about it.

    The first (only) time I blew a tire, I was 16, driving down a dark, country farm road at ten pm. The house I was stopped in front of had a few lights on, so I went up to the porch and knocked. I was mostly afraid that whoever showed up at the door would be holding a shotgun, because that’s how they do it in the country in Texas at 10pm. A lady came to the door, and as I was already in tears from fright, she let me in to call my mother in law, who lived a few miles up the road. The lady also told me that they’d had a break in at their house a few months prior, so I was VERY lucky that I didn’t have a shotgun in my face. My MIL took me home and arranged for someone in the family to fix the flat. She used to like me!

  43. On May 30th, 2009 at 10:42 am kalakly Says:

    What a giant dick(as in being one, not having one, obviously)

  44. On May 30th, 2009 at 11:17 am Danielle Says:

    Maybe you just scared him with your awesomeness? 😉

  45. On May 30th, 2009 at 1:49 pm Nit Says:

    He really didn’t want to help you, but knew that his conscience would eat the shit out of him if you did go to the next serial killer’s house and get chopped into little pieces. 🙂

  46. On May 30th, 2009 at 1:02 pm baseballmom Says:

    God, he probably was sterilizing his bathtub or organizing his tools or something…what an ass!

  47. On May 30th, 2009 at 2:21 pm giggleblue Says:

    he was an asshole with a heart. those exist, you know! i think i may be one.

  48. On May 30th, 2009 at 2:47 pm birdpress Says:

    Total jerk. There was no reason for him to act like that. Just a jerk.

    I blew a tire when I was sixteen, on the interstate driving to visit my sister in college for the first time. I was terrified, not even used to driving on the interstate, especially alone like that. It was also back before everyone had cell phones, so I didn’t even have a phone.

    After sitting there in tears, hoping for a cop to come by, for what seemed like hours but was probably closer to 15-20 minutes, a trucker pulled over in front of me, hopped out, and offered to help. In no time he had the tire off and in my trunk and the donut tire on my car. I thanked him and offered him money (holding out a ten dollar bill) which he waved off, saying “no problem” as he just ran off and jumped back in his truck.

    Gotta love those truckers sometimes.

  49. On May 30th, 2009 at 4:41 pm Meghan Says:

    I agree just a plain jerk of all jerks nothing more.

  50. On May 30th, 2009 at 8:56 pm Alexicographer Says:

    Hunh. As a college kid I got a flat in the middle of nowhere but near a gas station (I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not). The guys in the gas station declined to help me because the basketball game was on (yes, really), but then 4 guys in a souped-up Chevy Nova (again, really) stopped to ask if I needed help. I was a bit nervous to say yet, but, um … what else could I say. They were delightful, though they assured me the guys at the gas station (they’d seen me walk up) wouldn’t help because they were gay. Which left me wondering what they might expect in payment but in fact, nothing. Bless them. Also one of the guys who had a very thick southern accent told me to finish my schoolin’ before I got murrd (married). I’m not sure he was anticipating my entering a doctoral program, but I followed his advice (as things turned out).

  51. On May 30th, 2009 at 11:56 pm Meghan Says:

    I loved the joke, I told it to Nathaneil I thought he was going to pee himself laughing, he then tried to tell it to Neil, way to funny. Thanks I so needed it;)

  52. On May 31st, 2009 at 7:53 am zelzee Says:

    That is the exact reason I have always refused to live in a subdivision…………

  53. On June 1st, 2009 at 7:40 pm mumma boo Says:

    I bet his knuckles dragged on the pavement. You were lucky he didn’t have his club with him.

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