Cars are People Too

I was well into adulthood before I became aware that not every family names their cars.

I grew up with Suzie, my Mom's Subaru station wagon, and my first car (and Tom's first car before me) was Fred. Fred was a Ford Festiva. And he was a gem. For those of you not familiar with the engineering brilliance that was the Ford Festiva, you can just picture an over-sized roller skate. It was one of the smallest cars ever made. Two doors, hatchback. Fred was originally silver, but became patchworked over the years as Tom's teenage driving skills were hard on him. By the time I inherited Fred he had a dark blue hood and a lighter blue grill. I desperately wish I had a picture of him.  

Fred was old school. Not even a cassette player. And toward the end of our relationship, his radio signal was getting weak and I experimented with different methods of "tuning" including banging the top of the dash as hard as possible with my fist. This worked about half the time.

Fred was not one for crowds. In fact, though he technically seated 4-5 people, if any of my friends were to sit in the backseat they would be asked to lean forward so the tires wouldn't rub when we went over a bump.

Oh Fred. Fred was part of the family. And all of our friends knew him by name. He was a special guy. So special in fact that when my senior English class was given a writing assignment and asked to write an ode to anyone and anything we chose – I didn't hesitate. Yes, somewhere in my attic is a crudely published "book" assembled by my senior AP English class that includes "Ode to Fred".

Fred eventually moved on, and from time to time I'll see one of his little brothers chugging along the highway and I just smile. Since Fred, there has been a handful of characters, including: Heidi (Honda Accord I drove in college), Stu (Laura and Becky's Subaru in high school), Teddy (Mom's Acura TL), Polly (my parents' Prius), and Annie (Laura's Oldsmobile Alero). Some of you may have noticed the comic book-esque alliteration trend we've got goin' on. We're creative like that.

It honestly never occurred to me that other families don't get together after the purchase of a new vehicle and deliberate on an appropriate name. Is it a boy or a girl? Is she a Polly or a Peggy? Sadly, I am not making this stuff up. 

And with that - I need your help. You see, the Hoods have a new car.


Well, new to us. It's a Toyota Highlander and it's heaven.

Things I love about the new-to-us car:

  • Oooooooooooooh the space. I could park my Civic in the cargo space of the new car. Well, if I laid the seats down, of course.
  • The seats lay down! Like, alllll the way down. I could have a square dance back there.
  • There are cupholders EVERYWHERE.
  • Three letters. AUX. That's right. It has one of those little plugs (which I'm sure the rest of you have had for 10 years…) that lets me plug my iPod right into the dash and jam to Sugarland. On demand. And as I blast "Baby Girl" on my way to work in the mornings I think, Let them stare, the louder the music the easier it is to imagine my voice sounds exactly like Jennifer Nettles. Please don't ruin it for me.

Things I don't necessary love:

  • New car = trip to visit the little rays of sunshine who work at the Revenue Office.
  • The numbers on the gas pump when I filled it up for the first time.
  • The look on Colt's face when his fingers got shut in the car door this week. (Yeah, I know. I considered not telling you that, but I guess you deserve to know. For the record, I feel wretched. And, though I was certain I had broken his poor little hand, somehow, he's not even bruised.)
  • So far - she's nameless. (At least I think she's a "she". I'm open to discussion.)

I thought about Roxie. You know, Roxie Recall. But I don't think it's quite right. Surely you can come up with something better than that. Let's hear it.

10 thoughts on “Cars are People Too

  1. You and the boys now ride in the “Hoodie” don’t you? … As in Hoodmobile :)

  2. you could name her ethel as an homage to fred.

    i miss fred. he was always good for a laugh.

  3. Ah! Someone else who names their cars. I’ve had Sally and Meg. Sadly, Jetta-car was just named Jetta-car, and the current (call me crazy but I love it) minivan is yet unnamed. I’ll have to ponder that one.

    What about Georgie? (as in Georgie Grocery Getter?)

  4. Homer. I think it is a he.

  5. I think it’s a He, Sarah. And I I feel pretty strongly that he is Hugh the Highlander.

    We need to catch up!

  6. Lest we forget that Fred had another color towards the end of his life…a red door if I’m not mistaken? I wonder how he got that :)

  7. I think it could be a she. In that case, I’d name her Tilly or Tenille.

    If it’s determined to be a boy, Ted is always a good choice. You can affectionately refer to him as “Teddy” when you love him. Or if he ever randomly accelerates on you and threatens your life, you can angrily call him by his full name, “Theodore.”

    For the record, I usually name my cars. My Honda’s name is Hank.

  8. Oh, I’ll never forget Fred! He was fierce! I think I have a picture or two…at least from the side. I point out every roller skate I see driving the road to whoever happens to be passenger-ing. It’s not often these days I see one of Fred’s cousins, but it does bring back the memories. (As I recall the Furby really liked riding down that curvy road with Fred.)
    Congrats on the new ride! I love my toyota..I think it should be a girl, too. Perhaps Hilary, or Haley.

  9. Landon, as in the highLANDer?
    Tonya, the Toyota.

    There will never be another Fred!

  10. OK, so now I’ve found the correct place, and you did not disappoint. My first was “The Silver Bullet” An 88 chevy cavilier, which had the same radio problem. I distinctly remember pounding on the dash with extra vigor one day, then looking up to see the assoiciate pastor from my church and try to pull off a “It’s cool” wave. He never spoke to me the same way after that.

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