I've been back from holiday since Sunday now, and I'm trying to get my life back in order before returning to work. I've returned to a long list of jobs: many of which are linked to buying a house, some of which involve trying to get rid of fleas (gross), but my car also needs some attention.
I haven't had anyone look at my car since the MOT last year, but due to living in Leicester and working in Corby and Kettering, I do a lot of mileage in the little thing. It's recently been making a tapping noise which it only seemed to used to make when I was running low on oil, but now seems a bit more consistent.
Anyway, I'll spare you the details. The reason I'm writing this post is to reveal something to you all, and hope you feel the same way. Here's what I have to say.
I am a woman.
I don't know anything about cars and I'm not interested in learning.
I'm scared of garages.
Perhaps that's a little strong, but the chore of phoning garages and asking for services makes me feel a little nervous. I don't really know what I'm asking for and every time I say something, or ask a question, I feel like they are thinking 'another dumb female' or even 'great, let's rip her off'. Do other women feel like this? Or maybe even everyone feels like this, regardless of whether they're male or female.
The thing is, I don't feel the same when talking to builders or other male-dominated areas. I guess because I know more about houses than cars - I know what stairs are, I don't know what a combustion engine is.
The solution? I either learn as much as I can about cars - which with a Psychology MSc and full time job may be pretty difficult, or garages make themselves more female-friendly. This might mean training workers to appear less condescending, or employing female mechanics. If I had a lot of money, I would probably try to open a garage designed to be particularly female friendly. I definitely think that's an area of the market not currently being explored. Until then, I will bravely suffer the perils of going to the garage and hope that I'm not seen as an 'easy target'.