Well, Like, a Stupid Woman Story, You Know?

Monday, September 21, 2009
Posted in category Uncategorized

Sometimes I get emails that leave me dumbfounded. It amazes me how many people write me each week, each day, and are totally insulting to me while trying to be nice, and then when (and if) I respond as any self-respecting, insulted person should respond, I am greeted with shock and amazement. I received an email, today, from someone not trying to be rude, but doing something I find to be remarkably peculiar and dumb. The other day I made this post about finding Galt’s Gulch in Colorado. I started off by making fun of my rental vehicle:

The other day, I was driving a rented Ford Explorer east on Highway 46, from Utah, through La Sal Junction and across the Colorado state line. I was listening to a 1970s-80s radio station, and “Life in the Fast Lane” by the Eagles came on the radio. Then the engine oil light started beeping at me incessantly, demanding that the engine oil be changed now. Then Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty” came on. Hmmm – headed for a bad day, perhaps? I kept on driving, and as I crossed into Colorado, with nothing else around except for a few desolate ranches, I came across this road sign. For those not familiar with the work of Ayn Rand, Galt’s Gulch is the “secluded refuge in a valley of Colorado where the men of ability have retreated after relinquishing participation in American society.” On this day, I was on my way to Ouray, Colorado, a town that Rand and her husband visited so she could research the area in preparation for writing Atlas Shrugged.

I received this email in response to that post, which picked out the very unimportant details of the engine oil notification, when the point of the post was to reminisce about Rand and her time in Colorado researching Atlas Shrugged.


That was an interesting article you wrote and I hope some day to be able to see it myself (I love traveling for any reason and I appreciate the works of Ayn Rand).

As you might have guessed, I am writing primarily because you wrote “the engine oil light started beeping at me incessantly, demanding that the engine oil be changed now”.  I have to observe that, unless your car is unlike any I have looked at for the past 50+ years, a blinking oil light means you are extremely low on oil and the correct action to take is to immediately fill the engine with oil to the appropriate level, as indicated by the dip stick.

Failure to keep sufficient oil in an engine is one of the quickest ways to destroy it.  Even if the engine doesn’t die that time, it potentially takes years off its life to have the oil light come on.

The “engine warning” light is something else.  That’s a modern ‘convenience’ to let you know something under the hood needs attention but it’s usually not potentially catastrophic like low oil.

Oh really? Can I, like, ask, uhhh, what’s a dip stick? Is that, like, a thingy that is somewhere underneath that big metal thing that opens to reveal the engine thing? Well gee, I am so lucky to have a strong man – who I don’t even know – who knows his engine oil lights enough to help guide my disoriented self in this confusing, burdensome world! Truly now, can one be any more demeaning toward a total stranger while being more obvious than an Overeaters Anonymous group meeting in a donut shop? Here’s my email reply back to him:

Peter, you don’t really think that, because I am a woman, I am that STUPID … do you?

Can you not see me making fun of the _rental_ vehicle I was driving? You must not know a thing about cars, because these newer cars are set to have the ‘change engine oil’ light go on based on the miles traveled since the last oil change. A failure to do an oil changed within a prescribed “mileage period” after this light goes on results in a 2nd-level light going on telling you the “engine oil must be changed now.” And this light goes on often while driving, which is aggravating. This does not mean a “low” oil level, nor does it mean that the vehicle is about to self-detonate – it simply means that you have exceeded the mileage recommendations for oil change set within the vehicle’s computer.

Why did I have to explain that?

On second thought (and 3rd and 4th and 5th thoughts), why did I have to explain that?

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6 Responses to Well, Like, a Stupid Woman Story, You Know?

  1. Bruce says:

    September 21st, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Peter wrote: “I have to observe that, unless your car is unlike any I have looked at for the past 50+ years, a blinking oil light means you are extremely low on oil ……”

    Wow, 50 years of automobile observation, but I guess he has not seen any of the newer cars, huh?

  2. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit says:

    September 22nd, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Not to mention that some of them apparently require some sort of manual reset be pushed, so even if the oil IS changed, you still get the light.

    Though my personal favorite continues to be the “Check Engine” light that would always come on in my Subaru whenever I drove in Wyoming – but nowhere else in my travels from Oregon to Missouri. I figured it was some special high-tech warning regarding engine rustlers, but fortunately every time I’d check, it was still there.

  3. Steve says:

    September 22nd, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    The reason you didn’t need to explain it was – You already did!

  4. liberranter says:

    September 22nd, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Aw, Karen, give poor Peter a break. It probably took him years to grasp the concepts behind what he tried to explain to you and he just wanted to show it off to someone whom he thought would be suitably impressed (picture the Michael McDonald character Stuart Larkin on MAD TV – “Look what I can do!”).

  5. clark says:

    September 23rd, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Well, count me as one who had no clue, oil lights that come on when the oil is Not low, what a stupid light. Hehe, thanks for explaining that, I’m now more enlightend. And, I love my beater car now more than ever.

  6. Mark T says:

    September 24th, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    You’re just lucky that a thoughtful big, strong man could explain this to you Karen. It’s simply amazing you were, all by your little female self, able to drive your old GMC truck a couple hundred thousand miles without having a man around to tell you how to check the oil, inflate your tires, etc. Just think how lucky you were. (Sarcasm off)

    Steve pretty much nailed it in his comment above. I thought it would’ve been clear to, well, ALMOST everyone…

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