Word to the Wise: When Left On, Car Lights WILL Run Down Your Battery

English: A 24 foot (7 metre) pair of heavy-dut...

English: A 24 foot (7 metre) pair of heavy-duty jumper cables with crocodile clips. I made this picture all by myself! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was late tonight when we pulled into the parking lot. My wife and I had spent the evening looking for stationery and a backpack (Don’t ask) and our journeys had led us to our fourth store in the last hour and a half.

As we pulled into our parking spot, a lady stuck her head out of the van next to us.

“I hate to ask this,” she started. I expected her to stop because there really was no reason to continue. If she really hated asking it, she could just stop there, pull her head back into the car, and never have to ask that question that she hated so much. Nevertheless, she continued. “Is there any chance that you might be able to give us a jump?”

My wife suddenly became very excited. To the untrained eye, one would assume that she was thrilled to be helping people. She can be very giving like that, I suppose. In this particular instance, though, she had a set of brand new jumper cables in the back of her car, an anniversary present to the both of us. In my life, I have discovered that nothing makes women more excited than a chance to use a new item, and apparently even car emergency equipment fits into this model of thinking.

“YES! We have cables!” she said. I sat in the passenger seat, watching her attempt to find the button to pop the hood of her car. Glancing over to my right, I saw that the question-hating driver of the van next to us was having the same issue. Finally both drivers were able to focus on the little picture of a popped car hood and we were ready to begin.

I attached the jumper cables to the battery, a decidedly male job, while my wife watched, giddy that our jumper cables were going to be put to use so soon after we received them. While I did this, the woman from the van was on the phone with her husband. Apparently the fact that I had managed to attach one end of the jumper cables to our battery did not give her the confidence that I was a masculine enough person to be able to jump a car battery on my own.

She must have been a smart lady.

She finished her full interrogation of the proper way to jump-start a battery from a person who knew better and we were ready to go. Our engine ran and we waited before I finally gave her the thumbs up. Her van roared, and by “roared” I mean “puttered,” to life. Praises all around! Huzzah! We were the heroes, showered with admiration and honor. I pictured the day I would tell this story to my grandkids, both of them sitting on my knees, me wishing they would get off of my knees because I’m old and they are not very light.

“Then what happened, Grandpappy?” they would ask. Oh, they also call me “Grandpappy.” I’m not too sure why.

“Well, kids, then the woman started her car!”

“YIPPEE!” they would scream. “Grandpappy, you’re the greatest man EVER!”

As the woman sat in her car, we entered the store. After all, we still needed our stationery and backpack. Otherwise, how would we write letters and carry things?

After walking by the latest Jennifer Lopez perfume seven times (I believe it is called “Overrated by Jennifer Lopez”), we gave up. This trip had been all for not, but at least we had helped a poor stranded lady get back home.

There, next to our car, set the same van.

Oh no, I thought. Maybe our jump-starting was not good enough. Maybe we had inadequate jumper cables or I had accidentally attached them to an exhaust manifold or some sort of piston. I know that, gun to my head, I would not be able to point out an exhaust manifold and, outside of basketball, have no idea what a piston is.

We neared the van, ready to try again. Instead, we found the van empty. Inside, there was a single light.

I was livid. I had just slaved away for minutes to help her get out of there. Then, instead of leaving, she went into the store? AND SHE LEFT A LIGHT ON?! She was going to be in the same situation again after she finished buying her JLO perfume (“So-so by Jennifer Lopez”)! This woman was never going to get home and it was all her own fault.

The evening was a bust. No backpack, no stationery, no one rescued. I did get to attach jumper cables to a battery, but that was a very small victory.

I do not know what happened to the woman. She may be sitting there, again hoping for someone to come and waste their battery power on her. Maybe she is wondering what Jennifer Lopez perfume really smells like (Mediocrity).

Either way, I’m fine. I may not be a hero, but I did find a backpack online.

14 thoughts on “Word to the Wise: When Left On, Car Lights WILL Run Down Your Battery

    • I’m not sure if you mean I am terrible or she is terrible. Maybe you mean the situation was terrible. Either way, I am assuming your comment lacked seriousness because you were laughing out loud while saying it.


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