Sunday, December 21, 2008

Loving the Unliving (having nothing to do with zombies)

You know, it just doesn't pay to anthropomorphize inanimate objects. What? This is not a problem you have? Well, then you're clearly not a very feeling person. Okay, or you're just a perfectly sane person. Fine. I have been known to over-empathize. Even with the unliving. I'm also famous for being an all-around defender. Some people play the devil's advocate, I'm the underdog's cheerleader. I'm getting better at it. I mean at not doing it. Years of ridicule help you get over that sort of thing. (My brother used to tell me that my stuffed plush animals were dead. I'd shout, no, they were never alive, in order to best him. Yeah, so they're dead, he'd counter. That's just a related aside for you.)

But see the inanimate object thing, I don't get ridiculed as much for that because I keep it to myself. Mostly I think I'm over it. As a child it was no good, no good at all my friend. I would take a glass off the shelf then decide I wanted a different one so I'd exchange them. Only to feel so bad for the first that I'd have to take it back again. Even if it was too small for my needs or whatever the rational problem I had with it in the first place was. I distinctly remember trying on a blouse as a very little girl and changing my mind about it then feeling terrible. I think my mom sussed me out, though. I was probably rather transparent. I'm pretty sure we didn't actually buy the unwanted shirt. (Oh god! I feel bad calling it that!)

My sister tells me that she got a pair of baseball pants for her son, but they turned out to be see-through (a design flaw, if you ask me). So she was going to return them and my nephew got all upset about it. She figured him out, too (it must run in moms). Pointed out that he would not be happy on the field with everyone able to see his dainty bits. Or undies, or whatever. So clearly it's in my genes and it's not my fault.

I know there's some reason I brought this up. I hardly think I'd go so far as to begin a blog post without something in mind (no wisecracks from you, smartass.). Oh! Jerry! Jerry my darling baby boy. Sweet sweet Jerry. My 2005 Toyota Prius. (Come to think of it, I once had a cactus named Jerry. Hmm.) I did not set out to name my car, per se, but as I was driving North on the 5 one day when he was young (just passed the Ikea in Burbank), it suddenly came to me: Jerry. I knew he was a male already because all things in my life are men. Except the women. And my dog, although she does have a masculine name. But I mean, well, when you're arbitrarily assigning gender to something, I always make it male. I prefer males. No offense. But the name just came to me, not unlike from on high. (What a waste of on high's time that would be.)

Needless to say, any time Jerry got the tiniest ding or was sick or anything, I felt terrible. But the worst, my friend, the worst came one month ago. My other sister (I don't generally refer to her that way) and I were--wait! Wait just one minute! My sister and I were driving on the 5 North! Good god, what could this mean? Okay, sorry, I'll keep going, but that just blew my mind, man. So Julia and I were driving on the 5 last month and through a series of unfortunate events (many of which I cleverly avoided in a James Bondian kind of way) little Jerry got his ass crushed. Yes, I cleverly avoided the melee in front of me, but I wasn't able to fully avoid the big rig bearing down on us (although I would like credit for hitting the gas the moment I saw it in the rear view mirror). So yeah, Jerry got smushed. But nobody was hurt and he drove away from the the accident with nary a whimper. Alas, the insurance company decided he was financially a total loss. But they did give me a crapload of money for him. Those Priuses really hold their value!

And the thing is, yeah, scary accident, and all sorts of rigmarole and hoops to jump through in the aftermath, and buying a new car and all that, but dang it all if the worst part wasn't the feeling that I'd lost a loved one. I was devastated for Jerry! Jerry, who'd seen me through so much and who, in the end, gave his life to keep my sister and me safe.

Exactly one month to the day after the accident (thank you Farmers Insurance and Longo Toyota) I drove my new car home. Also a Prius. Also blue. But this time with some bells and whistles (not that I didn't love your wholesome simplicity, Jerry). Some people were like, are you gonna call him Jerry II? I found that distasteful. It's not respectful to Jerry and it's not respectful to my new car.

I'm calling him Junior.

Drive safely,