Today’s guest post comes from Chris Norbury.
Chris blogs at A Neo-Renaissance Writer.

This is my good friend, Miles.He's reached the age where he's comfortable about his appearance

He’s got Japanese roots, but was actually born in Georgetown, KY. He was named after Miles Davis, one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time.

He's reached the age where he's comfortable with his body.
He’s kind of blue, and he’s reached the age where he’s comfortable with his body and his looks

Miles has visited each coast, been to Canada several times, and almost been to Mexico. He’s traveled nearly the equivalent of a one-way trip to the Moon. He’s gotten a few bumps and bruises along the way, suffered a few minor internal ailments, but otherwise has aged pretty darn gracefully for being 23 years old.

He's an interesting person with many and varied interests.
He’s into the Neo-Renaissance thing, and has many and varied interests.

He’s been a good friend for all the right reasons: faithful, reliable, and dependable. He also gets along great with my wife since he spent a lot of time with her the first half of his life, and they’re still on good terms with each other. He can keep a secret better than anyone I’ve known (when we’re out together with the windows closed and I rant about bad drivers or outrageous/stupid/ignorant things I hear on the radio). Based on a few close calls we’ve had, he’s always been willing to put himself in harm’s way to protect me.

He's Health conscious but also has a sense of humor
He’s health conscious, but also has a sense of humor.

Sometime in the next year or so, Miles will retire, hopefully to a good home that will take care of him in his last years. I don’t want to be the one to pull his spark plugs, so I’d like to either sell him to someone who will use him gently for his remaining time, or donate him to the radio station he learned to love after all those years, Minnesota Public Radio. His favorite show was Leigh Kamman’s The Jazz Image. Yeah, late Saturday night drives home while listening to all those great jazz tunes were some damn good times together.

He's interested in politics and able to discuss it in a civilized manner
He’s interested in politics.

His politics were always a little bit different, but he’s a live and let live kind of car, so that’s cool.

He's a long-time supporter of worthwhile charities
He’s a long-time supporter of worthwhile charities

But his heart (engine) has always been good and true, and he believes in helping those less fortunate, (maybe getting a good meal out of the deal after taking the Big Brother (owner) and his Little Brother up to the BWCA for some canoeing and camping.)

When he slowly rolls to his final stop, I hope he’ll be c(a)remated rather than tossed into an open graveyard with hundreds of other rusted old heaps. Better to recycle his useful elements ASAP than have him slowly decay and pollute the ground water.

As his final day approaches, I find myself feeling sad and melancholy. I took him for granted for the first twenty years or so. I always assumed he be there, start on command, get me where I wanted to go fast and efficiently. I would let him go weeks, even months without a shower; throw trash in his backseat; let dust, dirt, mud, and a multitude of food crumbs accumulate in his cracks and crevices; and delay taking him in for regular checkups. At least I made sure he got his annual or biannual oil transfusion. I wasn’t nearly as good a friend to him than he was to me.

He loves to visit wild places in order to connect with his spiritual self, and he's a firm believer in self-reliance and personal responsibility.
He loves to visit wild places, and he’s a firm believer in self-reliance and personal responsibility.

Yet Miles never complained, always had a smile on his grille, always purred like a tiger when I started him up each day. But only rarely would I pat him on the roof and say, “Nice job, Miles. That was a bad storm you just got us through,” or “Thanks for a smooth ride.” Even though I ignored him a lot, I was grateful for every safe trip we ever took, even the shortest trips down to the local convenience store for gas, or bananas and milk, or a late-evening summer ice cream run.

So thanks Miles. For everything: Every new mile. Every new road. Every new town. Every new vista. And all the old ones, too.  I’ll miss you when you’re gone. Ashes to ashes, rust to rust.

My question: Why do we anthropomorphize and befriend inanimate objects such as cars? Tell me about your most trusted and rusty friend.

50 thoughts on “Miles”

  1. Good morning. Very good, Chris. Thank you. I drove a Ford Ranger pickup that was a favorite. However, I think my top favorite is the 10 year old Honda CRV that I am currently driving.

    I don’t have a name for the Honda. It has become an old friend. Perhaps Fred would be a good name for that car and that is the name I will use here. I think that name sounds like a good one for that old friendly vehicle.

    Fred is able to go into 4 wheel drive when needed and this is one of his best feature. This make him a very good friend when driving conditions get bad. He also has a big cargo space which is very helpful. The large cargo space and 4 wheel drive are the two main features that lead me to think of Fred as my favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun blog, Chris, nice job.

    I can’t think of an inanimate object I’ve ever named. As a kid I didn’t even name my dolls. Even my beloved teddy bear went unnamed until I finally incinerated him when I was 28 years old. I just called him Teddy.

    I stick with naming my pets. Martha, our cat, is very well named. She’s feisty with plenty of tortitude, but sweet and cuddly when it suits her. Daisy, our old yellow lab is somewhat of a misnomer. Don’t know what our friends were thinking when they named her.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve talked about my girl here before. Kuro-auto-sama is a 1995 Honda Civic hatchback, my second car and my first-and-only new car that I bought myself (through the credit union!). She’s taken me from St. Paul to Chicago and Minneapolis to Madison dozens of times, and was a home away from home while I shlepped all around the Cities substituting at suburban libraries. I’m not very good about remembering maintenance and car washes and stuff like that, so having such a durable and forgiving vehicle was a gods-send. I drive her as little as possible these days, but she’s slowly succumbing to rust since having to be parked outside 24/7–she recently developed a hole in the floorboard–and the thought of having to send her away actually makes me teary. She’s like a sixth cat that doesn’t sleep on the bed (and my roommate and I talk to her like she is a cat).

    I like to blame my anthropomorphizing tendency on animism, but I’ve been like this my whole life, and my atheist roommate’s just as bad. Our parents were just lucky Toy Story 3 didn’t exist when we were children, or we would both have needed therapy (and had even bigger stuffed animal collections than we still do). The Velveteen Rabbit was traumatic enough…

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Morning all. Naming is big in my world – I never examined the “why” of that. College Student had a large stuffed animal collection when she was younger, most of them purchased by moi. And they all had fairly carefully chosen names.

    Cars also have names. Current car is Ivy the Ion, who is ten. But favorite car was Civetta the Civic. I bought her new and she stayed with me until she was 15. She carted everything in my life and just never gave me any headaches. Unfortunately when it was time to do car shopping, Honda was no longer making a hatchback and the Honda salesman was a complete jerk. I miss the hatchback on a daily basis.

    OT – PJ and Linda. I’ll be at St. Agnes about 9:30 – I like to be up close for the show.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I have never be sure why we name our cars, except they are like transportation of yore, horses, who were named.

    My fave: my nephew’s truck. He lived with us for 6 months in 2009 while he went through a life transition. He bought a farmer truck, a 1978 Ford 750, rusted and noisy. We could hear that truck coming down the street from 3 blocks away.

    He named it Melvin. I called it Rumblefish. It is known as Rumblefish to this day, although it now lives on an organic farm in Wisconsin.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is Chris in Owatanna, right? Great post!

    My favorite cars were the Volkswagons, and not very originally named – The Bug, The Van… and I didn’t really treat them like family. Husband’s 62 VW, however, was Betty Lou Lady Bug, and she was nothing if not tenacious and resilient. I’m told she had:
    – a brightly painted ladybug on the hood with “Betty Lou” painted above the windshield
    – a yin-yang symbol and a peace sign on the side doors
    By the time I met her back in ’78, she was painted a calm white with orange trim, and she had:
    – a fiberglass panel (from a speedboat) for the flooring;
    – vacuum cleaner hoses that ran from the heat ducts (under the back seat), one wired to the rearview mirror for the defroster, one laying on the floor for heat
    – a hand operated accelerator pedal to replace the disintegrated one
    – and when she didn’t start, the clutch was so easy to pop, Husband could get her rolling by himself with a good run.
    When she finally died, she spent time on our friends’ farm outside Winona as a yogurt maker – turned out on a sunny day, the temp inside was just right.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. One answer to the question of why we name things is . . . some of us don’t. I have tried to name my cars, but it feels silly to me and I end up feeling better just referring to them by make (I drove “the Quest” before getting my current car, “the Outback”).

    I can tell one cautionary tale about this. My friend Jerry bought a gorgeous and expensive shotgun. He was so smitten with it that he named the shotgun “Lola.” Lola represented something impossibly desirable to him. I have always thought of Lola as something like Jessica Rabbit in the cartoon film, Who Killed Roger Rabbit.

    Then Jerry began hunting with my former wife and me, and he made a sad discovery. He found out that he was a terrible shot, a really terrible shot. On our first two trips, Jerry shot at and missed between 70 and 100 rooster pheasants on each trip. On one of those trips he got so furious and ashamed that he whipped the expensive cowboy hat off his head and shot at it. He utterly destroyed the hat. It was the only thing he managed to hit in the first two years of hunting with us.

    And here is the kicker. It was bad enough to learn he couldn’t shoot, but worse to learn that he was such a miserable shooter that he had no business hanging out with Lola. If Lola were a gorgeous woman (as he tended to think of her) she would have had nothing to do with Jerry. She would have avoided him and run the other way when she saw him. Lola would have done anything to avoid the humiliation of being seen with Jerry. He would have been saddened by shooting badly with an unnamed inexpensive gun, but it really burned his toast to be so unworthy of Lola.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This subject reminds me of the weirdest date l’ve ever been on many years ago. After a play, he invited me back to his home. lt was a veritable flea market with junk hanging from the ceiling, scary looking masks filling the walls, and no room to even sit on any furniture. Something about it felt eerily like a house of horrors, truth be told.

    He took me on a tour, and between the tanks with snakes, lizards, and turtles, he proudly showed me a roll-out dishwasher which he had named “Zelda”. l remarked that he must be joking, but he continued to talk about “her” like a girlfriend. The biggest shock was yet to come when he took out his guitar and sang me a 10-verse song he’d written for Zelda. After he told me that l couldn’t chew gum in his house (it was Nicorette gum), l couldn’t get out of there fast enough!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose if Chris can write a nice blog piece about his car, your friend can write a song about his dishwasher, but 10 verses seems a little over the edge. Glad you got out of there!


        1. My Teddy shows the same lack of ability to name things that I mentioned above. PJ called her teddy bear the same thing. But, hell, I was just five years old. When I was four I named our family car “Bowser.”


    2. Shortly after we bought our first dishwasher we named it Greta. The controls and handles on the front of the machine where arranged so that it seemed to have two eyes and a big mouth. Because it was our first dishwasher we found it fascinating in some strange way. Of course, we gave the dishwasher a name as a joke. I think we are more or less normal people, right? We don’t have too many odd things hanging from our ceilings.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely piece, Chris.

    I think I may have seen your car in the Cities at some point. That, or there really is somebody else with a similar distribution of sentiments on their bumper. I remember clearly the s&h commenting on how the driver must be an interesting person (I believe I am safe in saying the neighborhood libertarians do not eat kale in any quantity 🙂 ).

    My relationship with motor vehicles has always been strained at best. Any car I have owned has been a necessary evil. I appreciate beautiful vintage cars, but I doubt I will ever be able to convince myself to pony up to get one (and the garage and maintenance it would deserve).

    The only objects with names at our house are the electronics-good and faithful servants that they are.

    I’m sort of surprised that I have never named a sewing or knitting machine-we certainly spend enough time together.

    On the other hand, it’s probably better that way, as from time to time, I need to disembowel and reassemble them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would think disemboweling would definitely put a crimp in your relationship. I’ve had to get rid of stuffed toys that just can’t be re-sewn or cleaned up sufficiently and it’s hard to do when you’ve named them! Of course, I will admit to tearing up a little when the guy who bought Civetta the Civic backed her down the driveway!


  10. I bought a 2002 VW Jetta wagon in July. The wife of the couple I bought it from told me the car’s name is Freddie.

    I was alerted to the car by my younger niece, who lives with her parents near the couple’s home and saw the for sale sign in its window. After I had closed the deal on the car, I was at my sister’s place and told her that the wife had revealed the car’s name to me. My sister immediately yelled upstairs ““Chloe! The car has a name! It’s Freddie!” My niece always names things, and animals, and places a lot of importance on finding the right name, so she had to be informed.

    Somehow, the transaction seemed validated when the selected vehicle came with a name.

    I haven’t had a car with a name before, but I’ve often had a lot of trouble letting go of cars. It seems disloyal to dismiss a good and faithful servant when it gets old and creaky. I especially had trouble saying goodbye to my Buick Century wagon, and also both the Escorts. I donated them because they had so little value I couldn’t sell them.

    I hope to have Freddie for a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love the name miles appropriate for the car wonderful musician kind of blue is my favorite Miles Davis album
    When I was a kid one of my favorite TV shows was Roy Rogers show
    On the show is Roy’s wife to 11 and his best friend Pat something O’Brien her all day or something
    Roy Road trigger I don’t remember the name of Dale for Pap jeep was named Nelliebell that would write a little bumpy trails Holleran and on their Nelliebell that was affected me and made me think it would be fun to have a car with a name but I never had one
    I had to Volkswagen couple of jeeps fistful of pick up trucks number of minivans couple of big old tanks up you look Rivera number Kia Lincoln couple Jaguars and now I drive the Honda to get washed every three or four years whether you did or not
    Rust to rust to speaks of the Carmen ghia that rusted out so bad but just broke in half. Convert able I drove a total of about 1000 miles before it tanked
    Great guest blog Chris
    First one right?
    The bumper stickers will get your point across you hippy pinko
    Thanks for the fun blog


    1. did this one walking into the mall with my son after he lost his iphone in a bar. did you kbow its not possible to survive for a day without a phone today. i dont have the 500 bucks so he is forced to use old technology an dhe is bummned.
      i was doing voice record on the blog and he was wondering what the heck i was doing. in hind sight maybe i should have wated one more hour but i wanted to get it knocked out. i have a busy schedule these days and the blog is a breather rather than a breakfast some days


      1. Thanks, Linda( & tim). Pretty much a no-brainer to choose that name at that time.

        You’re correct on this being my second post on TB. Tough company to keep with all the excellent posters so I try to make sure my blog posts reflect the high quality. For every ten ideas I get, maybe one might be good enough in my mind to post here.

        Chris in Owatonna


    1. your up too early
      satureday si the day we let him sleep (doesnt he just auto load anyway) maybe this leaves him the option of not doing it until saturday morning. kind of impromptu blogging


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