Throw Another Jump on the Batt'ry / by Courtney Mehlhaff

One morning last week, I was flagged down in the parking lot of my building by a guy whose car wouldn't start. He was late for work and quite desperate for any help, so when he asked if I'd be willing to give him a jump start, I said sure, as long as he had the cables and knew what he was doing.

While he hooked everything up, we chatted about the recent snowfall and he gave me some tips about parking, since I'm new to the neighborhood. He even told me about an email list I could sign up for with plowing alerts from the management.

I only relay these details to establish that, by the time his Honda revved back into action, we'd been talking together for a good five minutes in a very normal way.

As he put everything away and thanked me again, he asked which unit I lived in. I answered and then introduced myself, because somehow we hadn't exchanged names.  "I'm Dave," he said, reaching for my outstretched hand.

Right at that moment, there was a malfunction in my brain. I wanted to repeat his name so I'd have a snowball's chance of remembering it, but I also wanted to say "Hi." These two ideas wrestled for a nanosecond before deciding to reconcile and morph into what came out of my mouth, which was a combination of the two.

"Diiiiive," I confirmed, inexplicably turning Australian.

His head cocked just a bit.  "Dave," he repeated, perhaps more slowly this time, though I could be imagining that. Unable to explain why I briefly had a foreign accent and could not accurately pronounce a four-letter name, I simply nodded and smiled. 

So that's how I met my neighbor, and why he thinks I'm a dumbass.