A story about pumping

  • By Alison
  • 11 November, 2009
  • Comments Off on A story about pumping


Since we no longer have any forms of transport available, I had to ride my pushbike up to the hospital for my pre admission blood test. In the rain. 

Since the hospital is at the other end of town this isn’t actually as much of an arduous task as I just tried to make out. I used to ride my bike a lot more than I do now – I used to deliver Miss Comic Relief to nursery on it two days a week, then ride straight to the gym (are you feeling insignificant in the light of my physical prowess?). It was really only current laziness and the spitting sky that gave me pause. But it turned out that the biggest annoyance was the preparation of the bike.

My bike has a slow leak in the back tire. That means that pretty much every time I pull it out to use it, the back tire is totally and utterly flat. Almost as flat as me. And I have to pump it up before I can use it.

We have two pumps. One is “the one that works” and the other is “the one that doesn’t work“. The one that doesn’t work is a shining testament to the glory of Mr Boxer Shorts in reverse. I call it a “folly” in orange and black. You see, we already had “the pump that works” when Mr Boxer Shorts went out and bought a brand new one. I am not 100% sure on the reason for buying the second pump, but I can hazard a guess. We’re talking about a man who bought a pair of shoes that were too small merely because his mother was standing there saying “I’ll buy you something”. Like a child in a toystore (in fact, just like either of my children in a toystore) he couldn’t leave the shop without spending the money – even though the shoes didn’t come in his size.

So those “free” shoes necessated the spending of £3.95 of “shoe stretching” spray. I handed the spray to him with a look that pretty much said “Spray it on and walk around the house for several hours to get those shoes comfortable, and then we won’t have wasted £30 of your mother’s money, and I won’t kill you later”. I have very eloquent looks.

Guess how many times he used the spray? Even a snake could count this one (ie, on no hands… erm… I think if I have to explain the joke then I may have failed humour 101). Never, nada, zip, zilch. He wore the shoes 3 times, and each time complained that they were too small. Eventually they were donated to his dad, who they thankfully fitted, so it was like the shoes going home. Bye shoes, won’t miss you.

That’s got nothing to do with a pump, other than giving Mr Boxer Shorts more exposure in this article, which he secretly covets. Honest.

So this pump was brand new and fancy – and just didn’t work. I know the nozzley thingys are technical, and sometimes a slip of a woman like me (don’t argue, just go with the flow) might have problems working them out. But this pump just doesn’t fit onto ANYTHING. She no work.

Me: Take it back, ask them if it’s faulty, and if it’s not then ask them to show you how to use it.

: Sure, erm. Yep, I’ll do that right away. [Puts pump away, never touches it again]

: Great. Yippee.

So 5 years later we still own a pump that simply doesn’t work, and has never been used.

Today I got both pumps out of the shed to try and inflate my tire. This time I discovered that I had not one, but two pumps that don’t work. Did you know that pumps are very dirty and make your fingers icky? They do. I was sure that one of them was supposed to work, and after a lot of twiddling and frowning, I managed to work out that the brass screwy thing from the non working pump fits onto the bike valve. That then allows the working pump to fit over it and pump the tire up. Or would have, if I’d undone that whatsit on the valve first. So unscrew, remove, undo, rescrew, pump – success. The tire is now inflated. I feel empowered. And very dirty. And the cat wants to sit on me. AND it’s raining.

And there I am, standing in the back yard in the rain, looking at two pumps, when I notice – right on the bottom of the non working pump is a white tag. That white tag has a website address on it. For the USER MANUAL. Knock me down with a ham sandwich, I bet Mr Fancy Pants* never even looked at that! I dashed inside and fired up the old gerbils. The website was slightly lacking. The first page had three words on it – “Our Design…….”. Yes, they had that many full stops. I would NEVER use more than three of course!

But luckily, there was a second page with a little animated picture of how the pump should work. It was small, but viewable. 

I felt a warm glow of one upmanship, and dashed back down to the shed with images of my smugness dancing about my head. Imagine the next time Mr Boxer Shorts might need a pump…

“Of course it works, it’s easy. You just do this. Look – simples. How could you not know that? Even **I** know how it works.”

But that smugness trickled away when I looked at the pump again, and realised that it didn’t quite match the picture. There was an extra bit in ours that stopped the whatsit from fitting in. Never detered, I unscrewed the front and removed the extra bit. Now the whatsit fit in, but the tightening dodad didn’t tighten. The whatsit fell out again. Bumshit. I ran back inside and refered to the animation again. There was nothing extra showing on the face of it.

Brainfart number 2 – the extra bit must be around the wrong way. I dashed back down to the shed to experiment. No joy – the thing wouldn’t even screw back together with the extra bit in backwards.

So all in all, I got really dirty and didn’t even get to have my smug moment. I still can’t make “the pump that doesn’t work” work. But don’t tell Mr Boxer Shorts about that.

* Mr Boxer Shorts’s shorts are not actually fancy. None of them have anything in the least bit fancy on them. Certainly not lace. Why would you think he has lace pants? It’s just not true and I have no idea where that rumour could have originated from. None of them are see through either. Anymore.

Categories: the male enigma

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