As a romance novelist, I’ll admit that I often think about how to get the proverbial engine started. Today, though, I got to actually start a man’s engine. His shiny black truck had the hood up right outside my kids’ school. A raised hood is a universally-acknowledged distress symbol. Like flying a flag upside down on a sinking ship. I pulled up and asked the obvious and stupid question.
Surprisingly, he did not give me the “I’m a man, I’ll handle it” look. Maybe it was his restless kids in the car. He needed help from any gender.
“Got jumper cables?” he asked.
Of course. Silly question. This is Ohio, land of the automotive endurance test.
“Get in,” I said. “I’ll hook it up. Roll it over when I tell you.”
Ah, the sweet sound of an engine turning over and gender lines vanishing.
“Rev it up,” I said. “And you might want to get your alternator checked.”
He smiled and put it in gear. He and the two kids waved their thanks as they drove away, and I stowed my jumper cables for the next Dad in distress.