Flat/White/Heels by
(194 Stories)

Prompted By Car Trouble

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The actual white skirt I had was straighter and shorter.

Over the years, especially when I was in college and starting out in my career, I had my share of car trouble. But why, I still wonder, did the most dramatic incidents happen when I was wearing a white skirt and heels? The white skirt eventually became infamous to a point at which I refused to wear it when I was driving my car over 30 minutes away. But I was in love with the heels–very high and spiky, tricolor lizard in blue, violet, and green–so I kept them longer.

The incident that led me to ditch the skirt occurred in the mid-1980s as I was driving the Honda Accord home ...

When my 1969 Toyota Corona had a flat tire, I was dressed in the skirt and heels, ready to go out. Later, the same thing happened to my 1981 Honda Accord. That time I foolishly thought I could change the tire myself, only to discover that the lug nuts had been tightened using an air-driven tool. Even when I attached the lug wrench to a nut and stomped on the wrench handle as hard as I could, no luck. I had to call for service.

The incident that led me to ditch the skirt occurred in the mid-1980s as I was driving the Honda Accord home to Palo Alto from a Saturday afternoon party in Martinez. For those not familiar with Bay Area geography, this is an almost 90-minute drive. At the time, the Dumbarton Bridge, the closest to Palo Alto, was in disrepair, so I elected to use the Bay Bridge to cross from Oakland, go through San Francisco, and down the Peninsula.

Right as I approached the Bay Bridge, I noticed the car radio volume getting lower and the dashboard starting to dim. After I crossed the bridge and headed south, I could tell something was wrong, but if the car would operate for about 40 more minutes, I could make it home.

Unfortunately, as I drove down the freeway to the town of Belmont, the car began to slow down. I was still 20 minutes from home. I pulled to the side and saw a call box. No cell phones then. The dispatcher sent a tow truck, driven by a man with the build of the Hulk. After hooking up the Honda, he helped me climb into the passenger seat (that skirt was tight), and we dropped the car off to my trusty Honda small car repair shop, just a few blocks from my house. I hobbled home on my spike heels. It could have been worse; I kept thinking about what might have happened if the car had stopped on the Bay Bridge.

That Monday, the repair shop found that the Honda’s alternator had failed, and they replaced it. My luck, a few months later, the transmission failed, and I decided to replace the car. That breakdown was the last time I drove in those heels, and ever since then, I keep a pair of old running shoes in the trunk, in case I ever need to walk home again.

Profile photo of Marian Marian
I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.

Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. John Shutkin says:

    Sadly, Marian, you are further proof of my CT Scan theory. You obviously know way too much about cars, and look what happens to you.

    As to the white skirt and heels issues, I think they are the result of another, far better known theory. It is called Murphy’s Law.

    • Marian says:

      Murphy is an optimist, John. And yes, I know more than I really want to about cars. Having been a single gal for a long time, some of that was necessary when dealing with repair people (men). It was nice when I was with my 6’3″ Texan boyfriend and had to deal with them, but that wasn’t always possible.

  2. Oh Mare, thinking of you trying to change a tire in that white skirt, and walking home in those great spiky heels really hurts!
    An extra pair of sneakers in the trunk is a good idea!

  3. Suzy says:

    Oh Mare, for me, wearing a white skirt (or white pants) would just be asking for trouble. If not car trouble, then food/drink spillage, or sitting someplace dirty. But trying to change a tire in a white skirt is probably the worst, because even if you had gotten the lug nuts off, the tire would have brushed against your skirt when you pulled it off the car.

    Those tricolor lizard heels sound fabulous! But any heels are tough to walk in for very long. I always carried flat shoes with me when I wore high heels, just in case.

    • Marian says:

      You were definitely more sensible than I, Suzy, and it’s amazing when I think about it now that there weren’t spills of all sorts on that skirt. Its jinx was saved for car trouble!

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    I agree that Murphy had something to do with the white skirt and heel events. I remember that when we lived in the Bay Area we used to keep an earthquake kit in the trunk—a change of clothes with running shoes, a snack and water. Now we call it a fire or just an emergency kit. And I realize it is not there currently—better fix that.

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    Truly not a great outfit for breakdowns, Marian. And isn’t it always the way the, after you put money into fixing something, the whole car dies on you?

    • Marian says:

      That was a maddening experience, Laurie. At least with my next car, a Honda Civic, I traded it in before it was DOA. That car was great and was still going strong almost 20 years later!

  6. Yup, I bet the running shoes belatedly did the trick. John’s CT theory again, perhaps a corollary: pack a mechanic’s overalls and boots and you’ll never have road trouble.

  7. Betsy Pfau says:

    I agree with Suzy, Mare. Those shoes sound fabulous, but having a pair of comfortable shoes in your car for emergencies make so much sense. I like white skirts and pants (particularly in the summer), but I just call AAA when I have car trouble. I have so much foot/ankle trouble these days that I can’t even imagine wearing high heels, but that’s a different issue. Good for you for knowing how to change a tire. Glad you haven’t needed to recently.

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