Tonight Kim and I went up to Mom and Wood’s Hilltop Lodge and had some of Wood’s famous hamburgers (one of the perks of living in Georgia!) We had a great time just talking, looking at bugs (well, I don’t think Kim had much fun then) and enjoying each other’s company.

On our way back home, just as we were pulling into our neighborhood, I saw a car pulled over to the side with its hazards flashing. It looked like the driver was trying to push and steer it into the Bank of America parking lot at the same time, so I pulled over and asked him if he wanted help pushing it into the parking lot. He said what he really needed was a jump, so I suggested we push the car off the road into the parking lot, and we could jump it there. It was easy enough pushing the car along the road to the driveway, but just before it angled in, the road inclined gently. The driver (Tony), was having trouble with the power steering, so I encouraged him to sit inside, and I could push it into the parking lot myself.

Ha, ha! No, I couldn’t.

With a little bit of a head start, I got the front wheels onto the incline, but once the back wheels hit, the car came to a sticky-tired stop. I could keep it from rolling backward, but that car refused to budge another inch up the hill. Fortunately, we’d already made it through the bend, so Tony got back out and with some heaving, we made it over the incline and into the flat of the parking lot.

Kim pulled in behind, and we hooked up the jumper cables. It was hard to see which side was positive and negative in the dark, but I remembered that the positive side of the battery is usually toward the center of the car, so that went alright. The negative sparked a bit when I put it on, but, lucky for me, the handles of the clamps are rubberized paint. Of course, during all of this, I was trying to catch my breath, calm my heart down to under 200 BPM, and steady my hummingbird hands, courtesy of the uphill push.

Tony turned the key, and … nothing. The fan was turning, the lights came on (dimly), but the motor was dead. He tried a few more times, but there was just more of the same.

While I was wrapping up the jumper cables and calling AAA-South, he mentioned that he had had it in Neutral, and maybe we should try again. I told him I didn’t think that should make a difference (clever guy that I am), but he explained that his car wouldn’t start in Neutral, so we pulled the cars back into place and hooked up the cables again. This time, the Negative sparked scarily, like it was arc welding, and I had to try several times before I could clamp it on and get my hand away in time.

Tony turned his key again, and still nothing.

Then I realized I was even more clever than previously demonstrated! I had my sides reversed, with the Negative toward the inside – I’d crosswired, even after I had just thought about it earlier. I was lucky I hadn’t killed myself (well, sort of).

Once we corrected the wiring, Tony’s car cranked up, and he had it revving, and was off into the night, toward what he assured us was his very near home.

At least now I’ll pay more attention next time.

Kim gave me the “E” for effort, probably so I’d stop calling myself a dummy.

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