Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jump Starting a Car

When I woke up this morning, my son Christopher told me that the battery on his car was inexplicably dead. So he and I had to figure out how to jump start it. We had both seen this operation performed by others. But now we had to perform it by ourselves, by our not very clever selves.

I printed out something from the Internet on how to do it, from a website on how to be manly (!). First you hook the RED end of the jumper cable (POSITIVE) to the positive thingie on the battery of the good car. (Let it be noted that the good car in our family is invariably my 1991 Corolla with 190,000 miles on it). Luckily, one side of my battery had a red cover on it: surely that must be the side for the positive thingie. It would outrageously deceptive if they put a red cover on the side of the negative thingie, don’t you think? Then you hook the other RED end of the jumper cable to the positive thingie on the sick and ailing battery of the other car: also in our case identified (we hoped) by the red cover on it. So far, so good. Then put the NEGATIVE end of the jumper cable on the NEGATIVE thingie on the battery of the good car. We could do that. It was the next step that was our undoing. You don’t hook the other negative end of the jumper cable to the other negative thingie, which would make the most sense. No. You have to hook it onto some clean, unpainted, metal surface somewhere on the bad car.

We did it and tried to start up the cars: no luck. Hooked it up to something else, tried again: no luck. Now what? Just accept that sometimes the universe is aligned against us no matter what we do?

Instead I called a friend’s husband and he talked us through the operation one more time. We decided that the bolt we had hooked the final cable to was not indeed a clean, unpainted, metal surface, but a clean, PAINTED, metal surface. We tried hooking it onto a bit of the engine block – and it worked! The car started!

I feel so . . . manly.

1 comment:

  1. Manly, yes, but I like it, too.