Friday, May 14, 2010

26. Learn to Change a Car Tire

Now that graduation is over, I thought time would slow down, but instead it feels like it's accelerating. I think that's because on Tuesday at 6 am I embark on what is going to be a marathon summer of travel, with trips to the Dominican Republic, Seattle, Jordan, Lebanon, Uganda, the UK, Denmark and maybe Sweden in the works. And between the trips I have a two day conference in New Hampshire, and I really want to spend as much time as possible outside rock climbing and hiking and in the skating rink working on my first "moves in the field" test. So I think it's going to be a pretty busy summer.

Before the trip to the DR serves as my mental kick-off point for the summer, I wanted to extract one last lesson from Nigel before he takes his leave of Vermont for good. He did such a great job on my bike tire lesson, I asked him to repeat it for the car. My good friend and former student Jamila, who's been away the last three years at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, is staying at my place for the month of May. Turns out Oxford can teach a person a lot, but tire changing is not among the strengths of the scholars there, so Jamila wanted in on the lesson as well. So Nigel generously agreed to curtail his graduation-night revelries to the point that he'd be able to make it over to my place the following morning by 9:30 to teach his former professor and fellow SMC alum some very important basic mechanical skills.

He began with the all-important tour under the hood. I learned that my Subaru has a horizontally-opposed engine (as opposed to vertical, the way most engines are placed), and now I can at least point to most of the major components and name them. From there we moved to a mini-lecture on the jump-starting a car. Here's the summary: attach the positive (red) cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery, then to the one on the live one. Then clamp the negative cable to the live battery and the other end to a metal point on the body of the dead car (NOT to the dead battery). Then start the live car, wait 30 seconds and try to start the one with the dead battery. Then take everything off in reverse order. Got it?

From there we moved to the main event of changing the tire. I learned many things, such as that getting my hub caps off (and putting them back on) is harder than I expected, and so is loosening the lug nuts. On the plus side, the car jack is a bit easier than expected, and now I know just where to place it under the car. Oh, and I will now begin carrying a rag and a blanket (very good for kneeling in gravel if necessary as it was today) in my trunk. Nigel did a lot of demonstrating, but made sure that Jamila and I had to actually do everything he showed us. If I had to, I'm pretty sure I could do it on my own now, though I'm still not going to cancel my triple A membership.

Of course, I just had to include a few pictures. I love the one of Jamila and Nigel because they look they're having a fabulous time, and by extension, that tire-changing is a enthralling activity. Of course, since they're both voracious readers of current events and all things political, they were having quite the lively discussion, so it really was very fun. Then there's the one of me bent over kneeling. I felt that I must include it for two reasons. One is that I think I bear an uncanny resemblance to a turtle in the shot, and wondered if others agree. Second, it allows me to prominently display my awesome new hoodie from Health GAP, the AIDS treatment access activist group of which I've been a proud member for almost ten years now. If you're thinking to yourself, "Wow, she really does look like a turtle. But that is definitely an awesome sweatshirt. I must get one as well", shoot me an email and I'll hook you up with your very own connection to an uber-cool hoodie and an even cooler organization.

52 Ways to Say I Love You... Latin from my British friend Matthew, who came up with the 52 language thing and took some time off from his favorite past-time of making fun of academics to dredge up some memories of Latin classes.

Hello Salve
May I have two beers, please? Da mihi duas vasa fermentorum sodes?
I love you. Te amo.
Good by Vale

Coming Attractions

Here's the summer travel line-up:
May 18-28 Saint Michael's College MOVE Service Trip to the Dominican Republic(new country).
June 1-3 Conference in New Hampshire
June 8-15 Visit to Tacoma to see Tigist, Katrinka and Brian, do a road trip to Twin Falls, Idaho, and try glass blowing.
June 19-July 4 Go to Jordan and Lebanon with Siham and Connor for research, fall class preparation and to see why everyone says that Petra is a must-see destination (two new countries).
July 4-10 Fly from Amman, Jordan to Kampala, Uganda to speak at and participate in a 5-day international workshop on AIDS, religion and social movements (new country).
July 25-August 11 (approximately). Present a co-authored paper and attend a 4 day conference with my friend and colleague Jerry at Cambridge University. Prior to the conference, go hiking in Scotland (not a new country but a new experience) and after, visit Denmark (new country). So, if all goes as planned, I will be able to add 5 new countries to my life list (Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Jordan, Uganda and Denmark) between the end of spring semester and the beginning of fall semester!

On the hiking roster, my friend and colleague Kristin and I are planning a hike (probably overnight) up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, there are two hikes (spring as soon as I get back from the DR, and summer, which will start at night and end at dawn to catch the sunset, moon and sunrise) up Camel's Hump, and Lucas and I are going to do at least one of the "46" in the Adirondacks. Anyone up for any of these, let me know, so we can pick days that work for everyone!


  1. Wow Trish! What an itinerary you've got for the summer. We'll see you in August then. Sign me up for some fall hiking...And sign Jai up for some biking.
    luv ya!

    nic, cliff & jai

  2. Kudos to you, Trish! I can’t even remember if I did something as sensible as this after graduation, besides looking for a job. XD It pays to be your own mechanic. You’d never know when the need to change your own tire would come up. Randee@Capitol Hill Hill Exxon

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