I am not an idiot

Our boiler is one of those that directly heats water instead of warming a whole tankful. It’s been acting up for months, but it always managed to revive itself and work if you just left it a while and tried again later. We hoped to hold on until its service was due in July before getting it fixed, as our landlord passed away just after Christmas, so we wanted to leave the family alone as long as possible. Alas, last night it finally died beyond all hope of revival. Today I will have to arrange to have it fixed, and some guy (never met a woman boiler mechanic) will come around to fix it.

All this morning I loathed that this happened. As I made breakfast, it occurred to me that the thoughts and feelings, the imagined scenarios around the impending visit went beyond just the inconvenience of having a stranger in our house (which we hate). I soon figured out why. In my life, I have most often been treated like an imcompetent bimbo by people fixing mechanical type stuff for me.

“Ooh, this switch here now, you should turn it to that position, with that picture there. If you have it here, only the taps will work, the radiators won’t get warm.”

It’s July, dude. I actually turned the switch to that setting myself as it is SUMMER, we won’t need the radiators for months, and if it’s off there then if someone for some reason accidentally moves the timer switch to “on”, it won’t mean the house boiling and us wasting gas. Yes, it’s unlikely, but no, I am not that much of a moron that I didn’t know what I was doing.

“Yeah, that’s actually the hottest the shower can get in winter. It just works that way.”

No, dude, you are just too stingy to replace the electric shower that has built up enough calcium deposit on the element to not work properly any more. I am not that stupid. Though to my frustration so often I’d just go along with it, pretend to have just been enlightened by this glorious revelation, too polite to call them on their bullshit.

And on and on. I just anticipate a high possibility of being treated like an idiot when someone comes around to fix stuff in our house. Meanwhile, that is MY toolbox, I rebuilt these stairs myself, I built in this kitchen counter, I built this little shelf myself and hung it, too, secure now for going on six years even though it was hellishly difficult to work with these crumbly walls. I know I more often than not do a real Heath Robinson job, but no more so than your average male DIY enthusiast.

But hey, I have boobs, so many people see that and assume I’m stupid. And the one guy who used to come around and be welcomed because he always respected me and explained things to an equal… he was very sick last time I heard, so alas, I have no idea who’ll be trudging through our door in future when we need stuff fixed that is beyond me. My favourite handyman is not qualified to fix boilers, anyway.

Wish me luck for today, hopefully I won’t need it.

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