Monday, September 12, 2005

Naming Cars

There are two types of car owner. Those who name their cars, and those who don't. I fall firmly on the side of those who don't. Quite frankly, I find it all a bit ridiculous.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not cold hearted about these wonderful machines. Sentimentality does creep in, and I might refer to the Lotus as "her" ocassionally (for reasons to follow) but fond as I am of my cars, naming them goes a bit beyond the pale in my opinion. At the end of the day it's a lump of steel and plastic. It's great fun, but then so is the TV and I haven't named that. It's pretty, but so are the curtains, and I don't refer to them by name. It's useful, but then so is the microwave, and no, I haven't named that either. Have you? For that matter, have you named your car?

If the answer to the former is "no, of course not!" and the answer to the latter is "yes!" then I have to ask you why?!

My sister named the battered old Volvo 240 she used to barge around the Estonian highways in. The bloody thing was a disaster area. It would've failed any sensible road safety test and the boot was held shut with a padlock. To be fair, my father and I called this car several different names at various points in its life, none of them complimentary. We can't fathom how she even came to be attached to it, never mind name it ...

Indeed, were it up to my sister (and in spite of my frequent protests she still insists on this) the Lotus would be called "Lotty". Now quite apart from the fact that "Lotty" sounds like the name of a TV presenter trapped in the multi-coloured world of pre-school programming, what kind of name is it for a vehicle of outstanding racing heritage and prestige?? Even the script writer for Bob The Builder wouldn't call a Lotus "Lotty". (Not twice if I found out where he lived, at any rate!)

Furthermore, a colleague of mine has a VW Beetle called Benjamin. What sort of name is that for a car? All other reservations aside, it's a male name and everyone knows cars are female. I'm not being sexist here. In all the Latinate languages, except the ones I'll ignore for the purposes of this post, car is a feminine word. In French, la voiture; in Italian, la macchina; etc. So this particular car namer is not only daft, but also misguided.

And I'm also relatively sure my girlfriend has named the Fiat. I've wiped it from my mind (post-traumatic stress if you ask me) but I think I may have a vague recollection of being told the 500 had a name. My fuzzy picture of the event is something akin to me shouting "La La Laaaa, I'm not listening!" as I walk away with my fingers in my ears, girlfriend trailing behind me attempting to announce the unfortunate vehicle's ridiculous new title.

I can draw only one conclusion. I am surrounded by idiots.

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