I pulled into the Best Buy parking garage and grabbed a spot. Exiting the car, I realized that, in my haste, I’d left my cell phone at home. No big deal, really, as who would call except clients?
I wandered around Best Buy, decided that I should scope out vacuum cleaners first, get the “chore” part of this over with. I soon settled on a “bagless” model that seemed to work like a Swiss army knife - you could use it as a standard upright, or pull it apart and use it as a mini-vac. Brilliant choice! I grabbed it and headed for the consumer electronics area, the only reason an American male with headroom on his credit card really comes to Best Buy.
I pondered a set of Sony earbud earphones to replace the ones from my Creative Nomad mp3 player. I’m not really dissatisfied with them, but I’m thinking there must be something better, somewhere. I carried the Sony things around the store with me for awhile. I next ventured by “accident” into the TV section and wandered among the various flat-panel displays, just to check on the Washington-Notre Dame score. I don’t really want a plasma-screen TV. Gawd, they’re pretty…
In the end, I decided that I needed to do more research on headphones, and returned the Sony earbuds to the rack. I did pick up a PC microphone, however, so I could try some VOIP teleconferencing and recording. I swelled with virtue as I checked out with my practical and thrifty payload. I threw the stuff in the trunk and, of course, the fucker wouldn’t start. I was only in there 45 minutes max, what’s with this? It should have retained the charge from the breathless, high-rpm freeway trip to Northgate. I resigned myself to the debasing task of begging passersby for a jumpstart. Back to the trunk, move the dandy little vacuum cleaner aside, pull open the hatch to the tool area and, of course, the jumper cables were back at home in the car that didn’t need them.
The obvious solution was to have Mrs. Perils drive up and give me another jumpstart, but - oh, yeah - I didn’t have my cell phone. I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but it’s gotten really hard to find a public pay phone. I wandered around for half an hour looking in what I thought would be obvious places: “lessee, wouldn’t this be a terrific place to make a drug deal?” - but no phone there. Finally, the guy at Best Buy let me use a phone there for free. I called home, got no answer, and left a message that, as soon as I hung up, I realized gave no indication of how to find me even if Mrs. Perils retrieved it.
I began to feel distinctly forlorn. I walked a couple blocks in each direction trying to espy an automotive store, had no luck (couldn’t abase myself to ask anyone, that would reveal a weakness, wouldn’t it?), but as I walked back to Best Buy I noticed for the first time that the store just above it was GI Joe’s Outdoor and Automotive store. I picked up a pair of jumper cables and then thought, why not just buy a damn battery? Now, that’s a purchase I’d usually over-analyze trying to balance the cost against the length of guarantee, etc., and it felt ever so devil-may-care to buy it on a whim.
So, back to the Best Buy parking garage. Here’s everyone else walking to their cars with sophisticated electronic gadgets just bursting with excitement to get home and use them, and here I am with my hood up, a Crescent wrench in my hand and my exciting car battery acquisition ready to install. As I was doing this, a car pulled into the stall next to me, and I said, “Welcome to Best Buy’s new car repair department.” He looked at me just the way that I would have looked at him had our roles been reversed - extremely askance.
Just then, Mrs. Perils bustles up saying, “There you are! I’ve been looking all over for you!” We exchanged strained pleasantries as I secured the cables to the new battery, and then she said, “Uh-oh. Do you have your key to my car? I locked mine inside.”
In fact, I didn’t have my key to that car, because I’d separated it from my keyring in order to run both cars simultaneously when I did the initial jump. It appeared that, provided that my Accord would now start, we’d have to drive it home, get a key to her Civic, drive back to Northgate and retrieve it. She walked back to the Civic just to make sure hadn’t left one of the doors unlocked. In a few minutes, she returned to sheepishly admit that her keys had been in her glasses case in her purse all along.
The Accord, against all odds on this particular Saturday, started and we drove home without further incident.