Due to my incredible planning skills, on Friday night I ended up buying cat litter at Costlies Grocery Store (“Your Source For A $4.50 Gallon Of Milk!”)
As I pulled into the lot, I had a thought: I should go around the long way and park close to the front rather than park in the first available spot and walk across the lot the way I always do. And then instead of doing a 25-point-K-turn in order to wedge into the Very Closest Optimal Space, I went up the row a bit. Again, not my usual methodology.
I ended up in front of a couple with the hood raised, the guy on the cell phone and the woman looking concerned. Clearly needing help, but they appeared to be on the phone with it. I filled out the loan paperwork to get my cat litter, and when I returned, they were still there. I put the cat litter in the trunk, and my eyes fell on the jumper cables.
It takes a while to get through my thick skull, but now I got it. I walked up to them. “Is everything okay? Do you need a jump?”
The guy said, “We’ve been waiting for Triple-A for an hour now.”
I said, “Do you know how to jump a car?”
He said, “I don’t have cables.”
I said, “I do.”
When I got the cables, I noticed a second set beneath them. I handed one set over, laughing: “Do you think we could clip the second set to the first and make an ultra-long extension cable?”
Yeah, don’t joke like that too loudly. The cables didn’t reach. The couple repositioned the cars and still couldn’t make them reach.
(Very funny moment: the woman is holding the live ends of the cables apart from each other with the opposite ends clamped to her battery. The husband has pulled his Jeep so the two doors are beside each other. I said, “Oh, I’ll just fix your mirros so they don’t bang,” and slipped between the cars to retract her mirror against the side of her car. Behind me she murmured, “I didn’t know they could do that.”)
Without fear, the guy clamped the second set to the good car, then clamped the two sets of cables to each other while his wife stood, looking as terrified as I felt. He started the car while we awaited the earth-shattering kaboom.
It worked. No biggie. All the cables came unclamped again, and I got ready to leave.
The woman said, “It’s a good thing this didn’t happen with a trunk full of groceries.”
I added, “And the subtext here is that if there are two cables in this car, probably there aren’t cables in the other.”
See, all’s well. They started their car. I replaced the duplicate cables in the other vehicle. And I now know you can, in fact, make an extension jumper cable.