Friday, May 13, 2011

Pardon Me, I Think I Got Some Quirk on Your Shirt

I knew that my husband Herb was the man for me when I discovered that instead of rolling his eyes at my quirks, he merely laughed and humored me about them. When he discovered my complete lack of a directional sense, he bought me a GPS. And when he discovered that I name my cars, he shook his head, laughed, and admitted that his sister does, too.

I bought my first car when I was 20. It was a wee, peppy, brownish-red hatchback that I dubbed Tess. She served me well for many years and when she finally succumbed to high mileage and body rot, I traded her in for a brand-new, wee, peppy, bright blue hatchback named Willy. Willy also served me well for many years, and eventually succumbed, not to high mileage (although he was up there), but to my need for a “grown-up” car. He was supplanted by a graceful, elegant, sleek, burgundy sedan named Marguerite, which was the car I was driving when I met my husband.

Marguerite was actually a major contributor to my receiving the family seal of approval, at least from my niece and nephew, who were about 12 and 10 at the time. At one of our early meetings, they shyly asked me if my car had a name, and were surprised and delighted when I introduced them to Marguerite. They giggled and told me that when Uncle Herb got his car, he refused to give it a name so they named it for him. In keeping with his (Uncle Herb’s as well as the car’s, that is) stodgy nature, and inspired by the license plate bracket advertising “Smith Motors”, they dubbed his car Mr. John Smith. And of course, after we were married, they informed me that Marguerite was now Mrs. John Smith – although she still goes by Marguerite socially.

After 13 years and well over 200,000 miles, Mr. John Smith, like an elderly pet, was beginning to cost more for maintenance and repairs than it was worth for the resulting increase in lifespan, so (unlike with a pet), we immediately began to look for a newer model. And just yesterday, Herb brought home a beautiful, sleek, suave, three-year-old, European model of elegance, having left Mr. John Smith behind to begin his next life as an ashtray. I had already claimed naming rights, assuming that Herb had no interest in bequeathing a suitable moniker on the new arrival, even going so far as to tell my sister-in-law that although I had loosened him up considerably in our three years of marriage, convincing him to name a car was beyond even my considerable powers of persuasion.

So as soon as he pulled into the driveway in the new car, I announced that he looked like an Angelo. Herb shook his head and laughed – and then informed me that he couldn’t possibly be an Angelo, because he’s German, not Italian. And he promptly suggested the name Dieter. I objected that Dieter made me think of the old Saturday Night Live sketch with the creepy “touch my monkey” guy, which immediately led us both to suggest “Hans or Franz!” – which we also just as promptly vetoed. After throwing around a few more German names, one or the other of us came up with Gustave (which makes us both think of the brilliant composer Mahler), and we agreed that the car was, indeed, a Gustave.

Who knew that my quirk would finally rub off on him? I know that he’s still just humoring me, but the fact that he was willing to jump right in and participate in my quirk makes me very happy. Now if only I could get his sense of direction to rub off on me a little…

Bookmark and Share