I’ve never really been inclined to name any of my vehicles in the past. You know… like some people give their cars funny names: “waffles” or “the terror” or “the silver beast.”
Well, correction: one quasi-exception, long ago, back when Karin had her first car that she’d bought off her dad back when she was in university, the clunker that died on the highway when we were coming back to Alberta from BC for our wedding, we called that car the “TourCar” because (a) it was a Ford Contour and (b) somewhere along the line the little chrome emblem that said “Contour” got knocked and the “Con” broke off leaving the word “tour” emblazoned on the back in bold chrome lettering set upon the stylish 90s teal paint job.
But besides that I’ve never really since named a car. The old red truck was just “the little red truck. The Sunfire became (creatively enough) “the sunfire” or later, “the piece of crap sunfire.” The grey car was “the Mazda” and Karin’s Forester is “the Subaru” or (to Claire) “Mom’s Car.”
People do name their cars though. Fact… and evidence submitted in the form of just go do a Google search about “how to name your car” and you’ll get like seven hundred million results.
In the spirit of busting off bits of chrome, Claire has so far thought it very funny to chop off (though not actually) bits of the name “Toyota Tacoma” and call the truck Dad’s “Toy Taco.” Cute, but I’m sure there a few thousand with the same name. I mean, it’s funny and all, but part of me feels like it’s kinda a silly thing to do, to give a vehicle a name, particularly one so generic … while the other part of me wants more of that sort of whimsy in my day.
Tho, once again, my whimsy is diluted by overthinking it.
So here’s the deal: I agree. I have been overthinking this… but only because I keep doing something kinda odd and it’s all linked to this weird chain of literary-related randomness that ties together some of my recent lifestyle philosophies and mental acrobatics that has resulted in a spiderweb of decisions and complexity that is tough to explain unless you live inside my head. And I don’t know that anyone else out there does…
I’ve read this book called “Anathem” by one of my favourite authors, Neal Stephenson, literally and at least a dozen times. I’d probably call it “my favourite novel” and it’s something of a comfort read. It’s a weird sort of speculative fiction novel that as thick as a telephone book and is full of crazy ideas delving into parallel universes and quantum physics and long-thinking and rationality overdosing. The setting is this parallel but different Earth. Very different: different geography, different history, different evolutionary paths, and even slightly different physics. But it’s also the same: there are people and those people think and eat and drink wine and do math and play sports. The characters in the story are awesome and carefully crafted, though archetypes that lure unwary readers like myself into a kind of emulatory respect and subtle philosophical readjustment for the same. They are uber-geeks for all the right reasons and on an epic adventure, and they thoughtfully discuss their geekness in a way that makes you go “hmmmm….”
This “Anathem” world-setting-universe is also packed with a dictionary worth of slightly skewed vocabulary. See, to emphasize the similar-but-different parallelism of the setting, Stephenson has given familiar objects different names. For example, cell phones are “jeejahs”, video is referred to as “speelys” and a church is called an “ark.” It drives some readers crazy and the skewed nouns have shown up in many book reviews as pain points. But I like it, and I think it adds depth and subtlety to the story. That said, having read the book so many times I do find for a few days after a fresh read and having aligned my brain to the jargon of the story, I sometimes need to re-adjust to the real names of things in real life. To shift gears out of that all-consuming fictional universe and get back into step with Earth English.
So, having just re-read “Anathem” again recently (actually, in audiobook form) I did this lockstep thing again and in doing so was reminded that vehicles in the book have different names, too: cars are called “mobes” and trucks are referenced as “fetches.” Thus, as weird and sideways eclectic (slash neurotic) as it sounds, once or twice while still askew of my reality I’ve accidentally referred to the new truck as my “new fetch.”
Mental fart. Downshift. Release the clutch, and go back to driving in the reality lane.
The short of this long little essay is, then, that accidentally and completely without deliberate intention, for the last couple days (though mostly inside my own head) I’ve been calling my little black Tacoma truck “Fetch” … because it’s entirely too clever by half and that’s just how I roll. And thus, if I happen to utter that bit of nerdy-anthropomorphism aloud sometime, now you’ll know why.
So, have you ever named your vehicles?