We were in the car - the UMS car, as we call him, he's old and sweet, like a good dog, and U-M-S is on his license place, hence the name - we were in our neighbourhood, in fact, exploring, on a lovely day. Something happened - some little thing about some car letting him in or not (my husband is always the driver - I'm Maps, the Navigator: we don't use GPS). And he said something about 'people don't let you in until you make eye contact.'

'Of course,' I replied. 'You're not human, until that point. You're your car.'

And we started chatting about how we all see cars - like dogs - as having personalities. A Porsche, for example, is a whole different kettle of fish than a Fiat, say, or a Ford.. or a Range Rover. Just then, a spot appeared, and he slid in. Right across from a shiny vintage Rolls. We left our UMS car - an Audi, more than a decade old, bashed and scratched and showing all the marks of a rich, full life - which we hope will continue - and went on an adventure.

I was thinking, while we were walking, about labels (my friend Sophia's phone chooses 'posh' for Soph on her predictive text). I think I don't buy into that stuff, I like to think I'm above it, but I found a Hermes scarf recently, on the sidewalk - abandoned - and instead of leaving it hanging from a post, in case its owner came back to claim it, I kept it. It's not my most beautiful scarf - it's shades of grey, not very pretty - but it's Hermes. Does that make it better? Does that make me a hypocrite? Do I like it any better because it's made by Hermes?

When we returned, I happened to have my camera, and I peeked inside the Rolls. There, on the back seat, was this ethereal snakeskin print scarf. I pictured its owner: Daisy Buchanan, as played by Mia Farrow. There was something.. lonely, I guess, that I felt, coming off from the scarf. It looked so quiet, in the back of the car.

'Come on Jill, stop farting around,' he said, and I got in the car. But as we pulled away, I sensed - and this is me, once again, anthropormorphising objects, as he says I always do - but I felt, as we left, that our little UMS car was resisting saying goodbye.

Like he hadn't even had a chance to get her license plate number.


Unknown said...

a nice dream car

LeahB said...

Oh my gosh Jill, this is such a great post! It almost reads as a storyboard/pitch for a commercial in Mad Men! It would also make a fun opening chapter for a novel.

I very often anthropomorphize things as well. How very sad is it when the time rolls around to trade in an old car for a new one? Ah, the memories! I always feel SO guilty, as if my car is saying, "But WHY?! I don't understand, I thought we were inseparable."

That was a great point your husband made about the eye contact and people letting others in. Very true. Whenever I'm Sunday driving I notice that people give me the side-eye when I'm exploring their neighborhoods, until I wave at them, at which point they magically snap out of their "zone" and smile and wave back! I guess no potential burglar would ever have the audacity to wave at someone on their way to a home heist!

Veshoevius said...

Haha! Lovely post! I like the last image of your car not quite wanting to leave.

Mileide Almeida said...

omg!! great car!! =O

Anonymous said...

yes jill- great post - a story i felt - xo maryann

Kelly said...

This is a great post and SO TRUE! But you have to admit, this car is beautiful! Kisses from New York!

Sparkles and Shoes

The Foolish Aesthete said...

Hi Jill!

As I type this, a mama deer and her fawn just came up outside the window for their breakfast (i.e. our garden). Momentarily distracted here ...

Anyway, I'm glad to hear someone else anthropomorphizes objects! My husband and I name our cars too. About 2 years ago, we got the Mini Cooper S in a very British racing green and named "him" Maynard. It seems to suit his personality, and he certainly has a strong one :) The ancient near eastern cultures were very particular about naming because the name was the essence of the person/thing. Don't you think sometimes people even grow into their names?

I love the photo of your Audi nervously talking to the Rolls. I can already hear the conversation ...

-- J xxx

And do you know I just downloaded The Gatsby with Mia Farrow on my iPad for the plane ride to Colorado 2 weeks ago for our nephew's wedding? So yes, the scarf in the Rolls is such a throwback to those heady days covering up some personal isolation.


My friend from UK keeps one in his garage, wonder if he ever drives it...