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Inside Out

What a girl needs

Jeanne Sager
Posted 1/24/23

If you’re ever having a bad day and feeling a little less than your very best, I told friends recently, remember this story.  

I had asked the mechanic to look into why my remote car …

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Inside Out

What a girl needs


If you’re ever having a bad day and feeling a little less than your very best, I told friends recently, remember this story. 

I had asked the mechanic to look into why my remote car starter wasn’t working remotely. After all, I’d changed the battery! 

I had... but as said mechanic reported back after I’d dropped my car in his shop, I’d installed said battery upside down. 


In a lifetime of making mistakes often even sillier than this one (yes, it’s possible... see also, that time a friend’s brother let a skunk into the house thinking it was their indoor/outdoor cat), I’ve learned the easiest way through is laughing. And I don’t mind making myself the butt of the joke. 

When I later told the mechanic my friend group had all gotten a good laugh at my expense, he laughed... and told me I could have kept it all a secret. He certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone!

What’s more, he said, more than a few people have done the same thing. I certainly wasn’t the first, nor would I be the last. I wasn’t stupid ... just busy and inattentive. 

And that is the story of why I continue to take my car to Youngsville Garage. 

It’s why I shop at Callicoon Supply, too. 

Because it’s a truth universally acknowledged that to be a woman walking into many a mechanic’s garage or plenty of hardware stores is to take one’s dignity into one’s own hands. 

Despite the calendar marking this year as 2023, just 9 percent of Americans employed in the automotive repair and maintenance industry are female, and the construction trade is 86 percent male-dominated. It’s hardly a surprise when you take a deeper dive into the research out there that’s shown again and again that girls perform more poorly overall on math tests than their male peers not because of a lack of ability but because of general gender stereotyping. 

My husband can sew a button back on a shirt. I can’t. 

I can change out an electrical outlet in our living room. He can’t. 

And yet, I’ve been called “little lady” more times than I can count in hardware stores and been given overly-detailed instructions on mechanical tasks I’ve been perfectly capable of performing since my age could still be listed in single digits. 

So it’s worth speaking up for those places in our county where being a woman who has taken helm of home renovation or her car’s maintenance is treated simply as a human being, as capable as her male counterparts of doing all that it is that needs to be done around the home or car. 

I’ve walked into Callicoon Supply, asked where I can find a hacksaw and simply been led to the section full of hacksaws. There’s no asking why I could possibly need one or what it is I think I am going to do with one (for those who are wondering, I had to cut a piece of metal ... and that’s exactly what I did). There’s simple faith that the customer needs what they're asking for. 

As I raise a daughter whose skills in the STEM subjects far exceed my own, I get a chance to see on a daily basis in my own home what it is that can be done by minds that are truly attuned to math and science.

It takes a whole village to ensure minds like that are nurtured. It’s nice to see to know where to find those sorts of supports. 


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