"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Death of Chivalry

Yesterday, Marty and I ran into Raleigh to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. On the way home, we started hearing a LOUD thwap, thwap noise...you know, that noise that it starts to make right before the belt breaks... from the engine. So, I pulled over and popped the hood. The belt was still in place so I decided to take it really slow and hope we made it home. We didn't (make it home that is). A few miles down the road the belt gave out completely and I lost all power. For those of you who know the area, I was on west bound Wade Avenue right past the Blue Ridge Rd exit. We pulled off the road and got out and popped the hood. This is one time when not having a cell phone bit me in the ass because NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON STOPPED or even bothered to call it in to 911 and let them know there was a stranded motorist. No one fucking called or checked despite being able to clearly see it was a woman stranded. After the most futile and frustrating half an hour, Marty and I headed up the nearest exit ramp and the nice folks at the Ramada Inn let us use their phone to call Vic.

Since we knew exactly what was wrong, I asked Vic to stop by the auto parts store and buy the belt for the van. After he picked us up, we headed back to the van to replace the belt. Yay, time for me to play mechanic (Vic's arms and hands are just too large and muscular to fit in between things in the engine). Once again, NO ONE STOPPED or called anyone. Now, I can somewhat understand the lack of help this time because there was a second car and a man with me...but still....grrrr. After a little while of trying to figure out how to put it on and why it was seeming too loose, we realized the idjit at the auto parts store sold Vic the wrong belt despite being clearly told the make, model, and engine size of my van. Now, it's getting close to dinner time and we are all frustrated and frazzled. We locked up the van and headed home.

Vic took kid duty and I went and exchanged the one too large, wrong sized belt with the two correct belts I needed. Leaving my hubby on kid wrangling duty, my sbc Jennifer and I headed back out to my van to try and complete the repair. We were there for more than an hour. I spent that whole time arm deep in the engine trying to get the belt in position. I came a hair's breadth from actually getting the belt in place but I couldn't stretch it the last inch or so to get it in the proper position around the last pulley/gear/whatchamacallit. I just lacked the upper body strength or perhaps the proper tool to do it. Once again, in that whole time, with TWO WOMEN and an obviously broken down an, NOT ONE SINGLE ASSHOLE STOPPED OR CALLED FOR HELP...not even the Wake County Sheriff's Deputy who drove past. Even if that deputy had been enroute to a call (no light's or sirens so I doubt it), he could have used his handy-dandy radio to call the dispatch center and send someone out to check on us. My husband was a cop years ago. During his time as a cop or during his time as a civilian, he never ever would pass two women with a broken vehicle without making sure they had help. I damned well will make sure my boys grow up ready and willing to check on and help their fellow man. You know, I think the fact that no one cared enough to check on me pissed me off as much as the fact that I knew what to do to fix the van but couldn't quite make it all work.

What the hell has happened to common courtesy and chivalry? This is definitely one area the omnipresence of cell phones has hurt rather than helped. People see someone who definitely needs help and, instead of asking what the can do, they think "Fuck it, they have a phone. Let them call for help."

Chivalry is dead. Long live the asshole.


loribeth said...

Yep. :(

I hate cellphones with a passion -- I think they have been a huge contributor to the rapid decline in manners & civility. I cant' tell you how many idiotic conversations I've had to listen to on the commuter train home. Or how many times I've nearly been run down by someone who was staring at their screen & not paying attention to where they were walking. Or how many family gatherings I've been at where the kids have been ignoring everyone & texting their friends or playing games on their phones.

That said, I do have a cellphone for times exactly like the one you described. Ever try finding a payphone these days?? They are becoming far & few between too.

Wishing 4 One said...

Man that sucks. I remember the days of people stopping and trying to lend a hand, they are over huh? I will be honest, once I was stuck, a guy stopped and I told him all was fine as I was scared. All i could think of was a whacko I heard about on the news, acting like he wanted to help or he needed help then kidnapping and the person and killed them. Sad times we live in man. So who finally got the belt on?

Quiet Dreams said...

So sorry this happened to you.

I think that some people stop less nowadays because they assume that everyone has a cellphone, which, even if they did wouldn't mean that they didn't need help.

On the other hand, I am uber-impressed with your car-knowledge. That's one area in which I'm pretty useless.

JJ said...

Blech. People can be super rude.

Anonymous said...

I am also impressed with your car knowledge. I would probably still be standing there.

Nina said...

I know for a fact I'd still be standing there, as I know enough about cars to tell you where to put the keys, and that's about it. I have a cell phone, and I use it as my home phone, but I can dial, answer and text. That's it. And when I'm at a get-together or family event? No way. It's in my purse, probably in someone's back bedroom, cause that's what you do when you entertain, is take their coats, purses, diaper bags, etc and lay them out. As a guest, you visit and make conversation, compliment the food even if it's horrid cause they were nice enough to invite you. You do not ignore everyone and play on your phone, ipod, or gamer. I sound like my mother. I have become my mother. Creepy. I agree with Loribeth that people are just ruder these days. I'm terrified of being stranded. Bruce Mendenhall was captured in Nashville. Where I live. *shivers*

JamericanSpice said...

Let me tell you. It's very sad when we as a people have become too busy with tunnel-me focus to realize others are needing our help.

I watched from my house a car backed up too far and went in the ditch. All he needs is someone to help push that car out.

A pick up passed slowed down and went on.

Two motorcycles passed slowed down and I guess talked and went on.

Finally two other trucks (pick ups stopped to help, just as my hubs was on his way up to help)

It is broad daylight. So many homes around and yet they all passed by.

I would not have gotten a cellphone but for this sake, is why we got a stinking plan that's minimum yet sucking all our money! ugh.

Yes, no one lends a hand unless they keep it there for somethign in return. Sad.

Mrs. Gamgee said...

Man oh man... I hate that! And I am so sorry that you had to go through it. I hope that your van is now up and running, and I hope that your boys heed your lesson well!


Kristi said...

Oh, honey!! I'm so sorry, and am sad to say I can relate. I wish it had been more like the experience you, Jen and I had in the grocery store parking lot. See--chilvary isn't dead, just on an extended vaca. Although the last time my car was DRT in the middle of the road, eventually a really nice man from G'ville Utilities braved 2 lanes of crazy ass drivers to make sure the tow truck was en route. Granted, that was 20 minutes and 2 cigabutts into it. On a funnier note, I was sharing the "feeding the gnome in the closet skittles" with a few friends tonight at Chuck's. Funniest/wierdest thing--Val had heard it from someone during happy hour-----outside DC (as in outside the beltline DC, not the Durham Co. we both know and love)....too freaking funny....the world really is made up of many circles that constantly bump into each other. :) LYMI

Meari said...

I had the same thing happen to me a few times in life.

Once I was being beaten by an ex (when I was very young) and not one single person called the police, despite the fact I was screaming for help.

Another time, I was stranded in a blizzard (in a dress no less because I was on my way to work) and at least 6 cars/trucks drove by me standing out in the snow storm.

It makes you really disappointed in humanity, that's for sure.

battynurse said...

That sucks. I've had cars before that broke down and actually before cell phones and still didn't get any offers for help.