Out of puff

My mother always professed herself unable to deal with any sort of technology.  “Not if it’s got more than two working parts, darling,” she would say.  She confided once that this started as a self-defence mechanism.  When she and my father were first married, they ran a hotel and, when short of staff, took over whatever job needed to be done.  She said that she would do anything except work behind the bar, and he had done everything short of chambermaiding.  She made sure that she wouldn’t be expected to work machinery, however, by pretending not to understand it and, in time, became actually unable to cope with it at all.

I generally quite like getting on and having a go at such things – even with teenagers in the house I was first to learn how to programme the video, for instance – but pumping up a bicycle tyre has defeated me again.  I  used to have difficulty with car tyres, but finally mastered the machines at a petrol station through necessity.  However, today I set out to do my shopping and decided, by the time I got to the end of the drive, that the tyre was a bit soft.  Getting off and prodding it confirmed that, so I went back home and got out the foot-operated pump.

Ten minutes later, all I had achieved was letting all the air out.  The only consolation was that, when the Sage got home, he was unable to work it either.

I feel such a fool.  Last time I had the same problem, I tried to look it up on the internet, but it was too basic.  It’s so simple that there are no instructions.  Indeed, when Phil showed me, I was able to do it easily, but there’s evidently something vital I’ve forgotten.  I’ll have to take the bike over in the car when I next go to Weeza’s and get him to do it for me.  I have got a hand-operated pump of course, though I’m not sure where it is right now because, although I can attach it all right, my puny little arms can’t actually put enough air into it to inflate it from scratch.

Seems that I may have to put one foot in front of the other for the next few days.  I don’t mind walking, if I have to, but I can’t be doing with carrying a whole lot of shopping about.  Either I drive or we go hungry.

12 comments on “Out of puff

  1. 63mago

    It should be one of them. For some (like Schrader, originally for car tires) one needs an adapter. But normally one just props the pump thing on the ventil and pumps. If the pump thing has something to click, click it, it keeps the pump thing in place on the ventil, securing that you pump into the ventil, and nowhere else.

  2. Z

    Valve, Dave darling.

    There is a rubber thingy that can go one way or the other, depending on whether you’re pumping a car or a bicycle tyre. Looking at it, I can’t tell which way up it should be. So I have to try both. Then there’s the thing to click. Which way? I have to try both. Then there’s the valve itself – screwed up or not? Then there’s another thing to screw up – before or after you put it on the valve? I’ve tried all possible combinations and found one that kept the pump on the valve, but when I pumped it, the air hissed out. I gave up. Phil will do it in a minute, bemused that we had such difficulty.

  3. Christopher

    Mago’s instructions seemed to me to be the very acme of simplicity, but what intrigues me is why a lady of your endless talent, charm, grace and intelligence should never have learnt to push a wheelbarrow to the shops.

  4. Z

    Achy shoulders, dear heart, which is also the reason I don’t carry shopping.

    The Sage has sorted it and pumped up the tyre.

  5. Alienne

    I had this problem with Lenin’s bike. My SIL gave her her (SIL’s) old bike and it needed new tyres and inner tubes. While we had no problem getting the tyres off and replacing them and the inner tubes, we could not pump the sodding things up. The father of a friend of hers, and his next door neighbour (who runs a bike shop) took 25 minutes to work out that they had some kind of valve you had to unscrew before the air would go in. Which reassured us that we were not complete idiots.

  6. Z

    The Sage managed it in the end. Having discussed the matter with my son-in-law, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s my delicate little girlie fingers that are the problem. I didn’t push hard enough.

  7. lx

    Z, it was a pleasure to meet you through Rose & Macy on G+!

    For some reason, I could hear Rose perfectly, but had severe echo with you and Macy. I’ll investigate that for next time.

  8. Z

    Lovely to meet you too, LX. I’ve seen you about for so long, I don’t know how it is I’ve never visited.

    You wouldn’t think that finger muscles would lose strength, would you, Marion?


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