Living in Texas, you quickly learn that there is no such thing as “normal weather”. I remember growing up that people would always joke saying “If you don’t like the weather in Texas, just wait a minute.” And this really is a very true statement. It can be 90 degrees outside one minute and snowing the next, it’s just the way things are around here and, while you never really get used to it, you learn to accept it. All that being said, one thing you can count on in Texas is that when it starts raining, it doesn’t mess around; there is no such thing as a “light shower” in Texas.
This past weekend was one of those dreary, rainy ones. Surprisingly for the first time in months, I turned my TV on Friday morning while getting ready for work and listened to the traffic and weather reports. Because I did this, I was aware of the impending torrential downpour that was bearing down on the metroplex. Since I knew that my windshield wipers weren’t in the best condition I decided that it might be a good idea to break open the piggy bank and use my lifelong investment of 10 bucks(I’m broke people, quit laughing!) to purchase new wiper blades.
Sounded like a good idea at the time….
I stopped by Wal-Mart on my way to work to make my purchase. For those of you who have never been lucky enough to experience Wal-Mart at 530 in the morning, it really is one of the most invigorating experiences one can have. I almost want to go in there every single morning whether I want something or not just because I’m absolutely convinced that there is nothing in the world that can turn your sleepy, un-motivated, crass mood around like a 0530 Wal-Mart run. It’s the perfect time of day because you get the mixture of two completely different cultures.
On one hand, you have the coffee drinking, always happy to be alive, grandma’s and grandpa’s that started their day an hour ago, not because they have a job, but because they went to bed the night before at 4:30 and feel it is their duty to ensure the future of the world knows that you just can’t “sleep life away”. I can’t help but think that 50-60 years from now I will be part of this crowd. I already call myself an old woman because my idea of sleeping in on the weekends is waking up around 630.
On the other hand, you have the night owls who are just now thinking about winding down but have the overwhelming urge to buy Kit Kats and beef jerky as a “late night” snack. These are the characters that most people would probably consider shady. No doubt you have likely seen pictures of these people on Peopleofwalmart.com. They come in with their mascara running down their cheeks and half smoked cigarettes tucked behind their ears.
The clash between these two cultures is undeniably hilarious.
So as I attempted to make my way through the store without becoming a casualty of a Wal-Mart Civil War I couldn’t help but wonder which crowd I belonged to. I finally made my way to the automotive section, flipped through the windshield wiper size book, found the right size and made my purchase without much incident.
Since it’s still dark at that time of day and it was starting to drizzle, I figured I could hold off and peer through the streaky windshield for just a little while longer until I made it to work. I knew that I was going somewhere at lunch that had covered parking so I would just install the new blade on my lunch break and be on my happy little way.
I made it to work safely and when lunch finally came around I found that the rain had taken a break so I decided it would be the perfect time to install my new accessories.
Dear Lord….have you ever tried to install a windshield wiper???? I swear this has to be the most difficult, most complex thing I have ever done in my entire life. I’m pretty sure childbirth would be ten times less painful than trying to figure out how to put together the little pieces that attach the blade to the….movey thingy (Obviously I’m no mechanic!).
First of all, just take a look at this picture….will someone PLEASE tell me exactly what this thing is telling me to do?
I fiddled around with it for a good ten minutes and then couldn’t mess with it anymore as I had some where I needed to be and I only get so much time for a lunch break. I figured once I got where I was going, surely there would be someone there that would be happy to help.
I did, in fact, find a gentleman to help me but he took one look at the illustration on the back of the box, scratched his head, looked at the windshield wiper, scratched his head again and sighed. He then cocked his head to one side and stared at the picture a little longer.
Why do we do that? Cock our head? Do we think that looking at something from a 45 degree angle makes things that much more understandable? Perhaps we are under the assumption that if we turn our head one way or another all of our “brain juice” will swish to one side giving that side of the brain a double dose of smart. Regardless of why we do it, I have yet to see anyone come up with a logical solution after tilting their head to the side and emphatically sighing “hmmm”.
I have to give the guy credit though, he was very nice and even when the rain started he stood out there like a trooper and tried to help me figure it out. I finally realized that I was running late for work and I even felt a little sorry for the guy so I told him not to worry about it, I would just get someone from work or home to help me out. I’m sure I hurt his feelings by this, he looked slightly dejected but I couldn’t help it, I didn’t have all day.
As it turns out, I really had no intention of asking anyone at work to help. After changing my own tire in the parking lot more than once, and attempting to change a headlight, I learned a long time ago that men who work in the corporate world are pretty much useless. Now let me just say to those of you who may be “Corporate America Gentlemen” please don’t take offense to that statement, everyone has to have something that they are strong at and I guarantee you that Jim Bob the mechanic could not create, prepare, and present a 20 slide PowerPoint on “Business Ethics and Analytical Marketing”. So, while some of you corporate guys may be quite capable of doing car work, for the most part, the corporate male is not. So based on past experiences, I decided to wait until I got home and enlist the help of someone I knew was capable.
Come Saturday morning, I decided that something so simple as a windshield wiper couldn’t possibly be as difficult as I had made it out to be the day before. So I found myself standing barefoot in my driveway, examining the crude illustration once more. I finally decided that the best way to determine how to install this perpetual thorn in my side was to remove the old one while paying attention to how it was placed.
That left me standing in the driveway with only one windshield wiper on my car and no way of putting a new one on because it seemed that the little mechanical thingy bopper used to connect the blade to the movey thingy was totally different than the one that had been provided to me.
No big deal right? I can just take the old piece off, and put it on the new blade, no worries.
I don’t know who designed this little piece of plastic but I don’t understand why we don’t use this guy to design more influential things like airplanes and tanks. There was absolutely no force of nature that was going to allow me to remove that piece from the old wiper. I honestly believe that I could have hit the thing with an atom bomb and it would still be un-harmed. We definitely need to figure out how to put this type of assembly to good use. Especially before December 21!
So by now I had decided that I just needed to put the old blade back on until I could find someone who was far more car savvy than me. Of course, by this point, I had turned the indestructible piece of plastic around in so many different angles that I now couldn’t remember how it was supposed to go in the first place.
At this point I noticed that my neighbor had emerged from his garage and was literally watching me, for amusement purposes I’m sure. He had propped himself up against the open door of his truck, leaning inside the cab to keep from getting doused by the drizzle that had begun. I turned and shook my head, knowing that he wouldn’t help me because of my track record of calling the cops on him for beating his wife.
Finally I figured out how to put the old wiper back on, which I figured was better than nothing. It was a pivotal moment for me, almost inspirational. Once it popped into place I could almost hear people cheering for me. I expected at any moment for a crowd of people to rush out of nowhere and scoop me up and carry me away, much like at the end of the movie “Rudy”.
Yeah….that didn’t happen.
Here it is, Monday morning and my poor car is still lugging a new wiper blade around in the back seat while we constantly swish and squeak all the way too and from work and I continue to peer through half an inch of clear windshield. Thankfully I think the rain is gone for a couple days now so hopefully I can get someone to be so kind and install the darn thing.
I’m learning more and more as I get older that there are things in this life that I’m just never going to be able to do. Things like run a marathon, hike to the top of Mount Everest, and…install a windshield wiper blade.
I suppose there are worse things to be bummed out about…I could be flipping burgers at McDonalds.