I’ll freely admit there’s things I miss about my old Buick.
Something about how plush the seats were, the missing suspension, the smooth ride and way it swayed all over on the road, were just like home. But now that I’ve got a much newer car, I find it hard to miss the rest of the car that got me through college. I finally gave Iris her first real road trip last week, and now I think we’ve bonded like I did with the Buick.
There’s a “mystical bond, between man and machine” according to MTV’s Best Movie of 2008, Transformers. I would posit that this bond can only be established if you’ve slept in said car, or spent more than 12 hours straight driving in it. I won’t delve into the mechanics of naming and gendering your car, because I think it’s much like sailing ships of old.
You enter a means of transportation, and must be intimately acquainted with it’s nature, temperament, abilities, and desires. It no longer is a machine, and not quite a person. I often find myself talking to Iris (for such is she named) when she “acts up” or does something unexpected. Now, I’m not saying that cars have personalities, obviously, but neither did the great ships in older days. The Queen Anne’s Revenge had as much character and uniqueness as any vehicle today, only personified and doted upon like a restless lover by her captain (Blackbeard). I wish more of us cared about our vehicles like that.
One of my housemates has a separate Instagram account, just for his car, Arnold. It’s a beat up, ratty looking old Volkswagen Golf, but that car has character. I look forward to any posts he makes of Arnold because he’s attributed character and personality to the car. It’s no longer just a means of transportation but a friend.
Maybe if we looked at our cars as participants in travel instead of tools, we might care more for them, and treat others better on the roads. I don’t know if everyone could or would see things the way I do, but I think there’s merit in caring for the tools you use, even to the point of personification and conversation, if you want.