Look, I name EVERYTHING. OK?I have nicknames for gadgets in the house, all the time. I’m in line with the “Naming of Cats” thing from T S Elliot – everything has a common name or nickname, a secret name, and that mysterious unique name that only the cat knows and is left engaged with

“…His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
     Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
          His ineffable effable
          Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular name.”

 

So I name cars.

My first car was very much like this one (I probably have pictures of my own vehicle somewhere but they’re buried ten fathoms deep in piles of loose photos and it was a little more ruby-redder than this one but essentially it was this car.

His name was Frodo. And he was a terror. That car would just CUT OUT mid drive sometimes if it was caught in the rain – and I mean it would just DIE, and it didn’t matter if I was in the middle of the road somewhere, I barely had enough juice to get it to the side of the road. I definitely contemplated leaving it unlocked in an unsafe area somewhere with a bottle of brandy in the back as a sweetener lure and letting nature take its course – it nearly made me miss my own 21st birthday party because it was parked up at the University all day that day and IT RAINED and the damn car wouldn’t start when I wanted to go home. It was a royal pest. At first the mechanics basically just shrugged their shoulders and said, don’t drive it when it rains, honey. Yeah, sure. But at some point they figured out it was a spark plug problem, and they fixed it, and the car toddled along for a little while after that doing fine.

But I never really TRUSTED it again.

At some point it was exchanged for my beloved Mithras (it was a Mazda, There was the deity called Ahura Mazda. The connection to Mithras… oh, look it up.) That car was bought in South Africa, and I don’t know what insanity bit us but when we moved to New Zealand we brought the damn car with us. But it had been, in South Africa, in a bit of a nasty drive-by accident and the right front wheel well was shall we say iffy ever after. I loved that car, and it was good to me, but when I left NZ to come to the States, it was sold on and became someone else’s headache (it was a South African car in New Zealand. THere was ALWAYS an issue of some sort with the spare parts.

(Again – this is a SIMILAR car – photos of Mithras himself are likewise lost…)

The car that my husband was driving when I got married was a rustbucket, and we traded up for a second-hand Ford (which had an obstinate leak somewhere near the windshield which, in Florida, could be a problem…) But we trundled around Florida with it for nearly three years and then, when we moved up to the Pacific Northwest, we left the Ford in our wake. I must have named it something but I honestly don’t recall now.

When we got to our new digs in 2003, we bought a new used car, a 2002 Toyota Corolla (similar to this one)

This became Michael.

When we were negotiating for him, there was a cracked headlight that I wanted fixed before we took possession and the car salesman basically said, “are you really going to let a little thing like a cracked light get between you and a good deal?” and I said, “No, are you?”

They fixed the light. Michael came to live at our expense. There were only some 26,000 miles on the clock, and it was a 2002 model, so it was ALMOST a new car – and Michael was a LOVE. Reliable, solid, and well taken care of. There was only one fly in the ointment and that was that the front-wheel-drive low slung car was a nightmare to drive as soon as there was any snow on the ground, and there were many days that we were literally snowed in because I dared not take that car on the road (for my own safety, and that of others). That got OLD.

After twenty years of service I sold Michael to a nice man who wanted a good second car, and in came Muad’dib.

Muad’dib is a next-generation car, with enough electronics to make my head explode. It’s also an all-wheel drive vewhicle (which makes driving in that potential snow rather more of a possibility) and a hybrid (which is playing havoc with my expectations because *I can’t hear this car* – you know, when you start a normal car there’s a familiar “vroom” car starting noise, this beast just lights up a little sign in silence that says “ready”. It’s unnerving.) DRIVING it is fine; I am having a great deal of trouble PARKING the sumbitch because it is BIGGER ANd BULKIER than the Corolla and I simply don’t have a spatial sense for it. I haven’t even tried – and likely won’t, if I don’t have to – parallel parking, despite the nifty rear camera thing that it has which none of my cars have had to date. It’s hard to park it forwards, never mind back into things. I suppose I will get used to it but as of this writing Muad’dib is still something of a parking trial.

Does anyone else indulge in the naming of cars, or am I just a quaint little auto lunatic…

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