I don't know how to use them and on some level they terrify me. But there they are always rattling around in the trunk of the car. One morning during this past week circumstances forced me to venture out to the nearest grocery story. It was cold and windy. Earlier that morning snow fell in heavy clumps. Had we not been out of milk and bread and, well, just about everything else I wouldn't have even considered leaving the condo. I pulled into the first available space in the parking lot of the Stop and Shop. Only when I was getting out of the car did I notice the man standing in front of the van parked next to me. The hood was raised. He stood in front of it staring into the mystery of the internal combustion engine. Back in La La Land I probably would have just gone on about my business but cold and snow and wind seem to change the way people interact.
"Hello," I said loudly because the wind picked up just as I spoke. "I have jumper cables. Would that help?"
The man smiled and said, "That might just fix everything."
"I have them but I don't know how to use them."
"I don't have then but I sure do know how to use them."
We were shouting at each other because that's how you speak in a windy snow storm.
While he taught me to use jumper cables he said that he had just moved down from upstate New York.
"Where it's warmer?" I shouted.
"That's right," he shouted back.
Today was his wife's birthday and he had gone into the store to buy her flowers. His battery had been failing and, when he accidentally left his lights on while he was choosing the flowers, it died.
With the jumper cables it started right up.
"I felt so lost," he shouted over the wind. "I didn't know who to call and then you just appeared. It's a miracle."
"Tell your wife happy birthday for me," and with that I tossed the cables back into the trunk and went inside to buy oatmeal.
Welcome to New Jersey.