This is perhaps one of the only reader submissions I've received that I can personally relate to. I have a black Jetta that I named Bruce, a two-fold homage to both Bruce Springsteen (I bought the car in New Jersey) and to Bruce Wayne, Batman's daytime persona. He has leather seats and being manual shift, well, let's just say that there's a lot of masculine energy going on with him. Every time I take him in for repairs, I tell the mechanic to, "take good care of Bruce" and they roll their eyes at me. Guys do think it's weird to name a car, but why would'nt I? I toss enough money at his upkeep to warrant some kind of personification. Besides, it helps to have a name to curse when he needs significant, costly engine repairs. Bruuuuuuuuce, you expensive motherfucker!
The bartender whisked away our glasses and showed us the door. Out on the sidewalk, I pointed my boots westward and readied myself for the long trek home. I was turning my head to say goodnight when she managed to get in the first shot.
"Can I give you a ride?”
“I’m not far. I can walk from here.”
“Don’t be silly! Hop in. Bob won’t mind.”
“This is Bob,” she said, patting the roof of her red Volkswagen Jetta. She tossed her bag in the back, slid behind the wheel, and leaned over to open the door on my side. She was all smiles, as though reassuring me that I had nothing to fear.
I climbed in next to her. “How old are you again?”
“Oh, come on. You’re gonna give me grief about Bob?”
“No, of course not. I was just wondering about my legal exposure here. As Baretta said, ‘If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.’”
She stared at me like I was speaking in tongues. “Bob’s the best,” she insisted. “He’s loyal, handsome, and trustworthy. And he doesn’t mind if I give some random guy a ride from time to time. Can you live up to those standards?”
She had put me on the defensive. I was charmed by her wit, but her zaniness seemed forced. Did she think that any woman who's not model gorgeous has to be a wacky comedian? What else had she named? Was this her way of blocking unwanted sexual advances? Rather than feign a headache, she announces that she’s named her vagina and--ta da!--no more worries.
I settled back and silently appraised the situation. I clearly enjoyed her company, but I was dubious about her eccentricity. In the end, though, I was more enticed than deterred. After all, there’s something about a glimpse of maternal instinct that--for me, at least--can put a woman in a favorable light.
September 20, 2010
From our reader Eric E., who doesn't entirely hate it when girls name their cars: