An unlikely place for a panic attack is Belle Tire Crossing ankles in the waiting room watching Carhartt stomping saying hey man Blend like neutral watercolors An unfriendly handshake In the marrow of my ribs, I can’t Inhale, fearing that Tucked under the hood might not be Just a bad battery; The blare of the sports show on the tv above me Is booming: the voice of god —some over-animated man gesticulating— Calling to the “Guys” behind computers Who are swinging other people’s keys around their fingers Smirking Their oily confidence purchased from the back of A Snap-On truck With currency inherited from Their father’s wallets Picked out of faded leather Generational gold Obvious I am not one of them Despite dressing down in jeans and boots —my feet curving girlishly inward by a spiteful god— I AM WOMAN It’s painfully clear as they Bump fists with men they’ve never met And yet Won’t look me in the eye Gruff and tough and Blow the house down If women make up half the world, why WHY Do auto shops feel like the ultimate Male stomping ground Me big man you woman who don’t understand car “What kind of car you bringin’ in today” A Ford Escape Don’t get it twisted: all-wheel drive; Ford has classified my salt-stained SUV As a truck YES A TRUCK Breathe in breathe out Breatheinbreatheout —am I on fire or freezing— Barbed wire words explaining the simplicity Of the repairs; patronization like I don’t know a car needs a battery Or where it goes Like I didn’t try to take the goddamn thing out myself —avoidance of the Guys failed only by Ford’s awful engineering— I nod, pay, he won’t look me in the eye Give me my receipt and I’ll Make like my car: Escape.
About the author:
Hannah Ryder holds an MFA from Savannah College of Art & Design. Her writing and photography is published in Great Lakes Review, Port City Review, and Qua Literary and Fine Arts Magazine. She currently lives in northern Virginia. Find more at hannahryder.com.
Header Image: Jahongir Ismoilov on Unsplash