My first car was named Smedley, a less than creative concoction for a beat-up old Chevy that carried a New Jersey license plate beginning with “SMD.” Actually, the ’64 Bel Air had a lot of names we won’t use here, most created on the spot when it wouldn’t start, which was quite often.
Most of my friends have also given names to their cars. There’s something about personalizing the relationship with something you spend so much time with. A friend, having loaded up his new chariot with every possible mobile electronic device, settled on the somewhat disturbing “Hal,” and routinely would hit the voice-control button, asking to “Open the pod bay doors, Hal.” Sadly, the usual response is, “Command not recognized,” though it occasionally results in the system changing the satellite radio channel.
Americans, it seems, aren’t the only ones in the habit of naming inanimate (okay, semi-animate) machines. A new survey by the British parking lot operator NCP found that at least half of all English motorists personalize their vehicle with a friendly moniker.