The Name’s The Thing
Have you ever named an inanimate object? (Your car? Your laptop? The volleyball that kept you company while you were stranded in the ocean?) Share the story of at least one object with which you’re on a first-name basis.
A year and some change ago, my dad was looking to buy a new car. Well, new to him. He wasn’t rolling in the dough, but he was a thrifty sonnama bitch. Dad was old school and his Hyundai Accent just wasn’t doing it for him. He had some “commie asshole” (his words) chew him out in the Meijer parking lot one early Sunday morning for owning a car made by “Chinese slaves” (commie asshole’s words). The car was made in Alabama. We checked. But it also sat low to the ground and was hard for him to get in and out of with his bad hips and knees. And since I wasn’t buying him a Cadillac (he wanted me to buy him a new one and a 1946 Cadillac like his uncles had), he decided it was time for a new car. He was old school, so he wanted a Ford. Good solid sturdy car.
Enter Dave. That’s the car. Dave. He was giving me a tour around town a month or so after he bought it (I moved to Tennessee and he was in Central Indiana) and was showing it off to me. Nice car. Good on gas, mood lighting around the cup holders and floorboards at night. Powered leather seats that warmed your cold butt in the winter. The works. It was a nice car. He was pleased with it.
My dad didn’t get to drive it around that much. Dad died in December 2013. A week after Thanksgiving and just 3 days after I left to go back home to Tennessee. I drove Dave around, sometimes in a daze, as I tended to the many things one needs to do after a parent dies. I was his only son and the only immediate family member he had left. He and my mom split up when I was a wee toddler. But thank god for my mom. She helped a ton. After all, she had to go through it with her dad when I was a slightly wee’er toddler. So anyway, I drove Dave around with his mood lighting set the way dad had it and the radio on the same station and the butt warmers turned on. He had a handicap placard he hung from the rearview mirror, remember he had bad hips and knees, and I kept it there. Even parking in a handicap spot once. I didn’t realize it and my mom said you can’t park here, it’s a handicapped spot. I said, “What are they gonna do? I’ve got a sign. Besides, my dad just died.” I was going to the flower shop to order flowers for the casket.
Dave came home with me, I was appointed executor of the estate and he pretty much left everything to me anyway. My brother (from my mom’s second marriage) and I went on a trip to Wyoming this past summer. We drove Dave. In the middle of our trip, my brother said he thought Dave a free spirit. I had to agree. After all, he had taken us from Indiana to Wyoming, up a mountain side that Jeeps would be envious of, past herds of buffalo, past Old Faithful, and through the dirt roads and mud holes the size of Nebraska.
Dave is now my car. I’ve always given my cars girl names, you know, like, you don’t call a ship “him” or “he”; it’s always “she” and “her”. But Dave kept his name when I became the new owner. And every time I get in the car to go somewhere, I say a silent little hello to Dave, and I think of my dad.