I credit my bestie, Baby Spice, with my inherent need to name the meaningful mechanical things in my life. She started naming her cars in high school, and I followed suit. Things that cost a significant amount of money deserve a name that suits their looks and personalities! Her first car was Herman, a little light brown hatchback. We suspected he was imbued with magical powers because he steered us all over West Texas and the Metroplex without incident – even though neither of us could read a map! Herman was followed by Lenard, Oliver, Thurber Mingus and Sam I Am.
My first car was a sweet maroon Pontiac Firebird, Shazam! He had t-tops and a Pioneer pull-out stereo deck plus a trunk full of speakers. He was pretty bad ass, if I do say so myself. In college, a Scottish golfer asked me if Shazam! could talk. It took me a minute to figure out he thought my car was KITT, from the ’80’s tv show Nightrider. Yep, that’s how cool my car was.
My next ride was much more practical for the post college professional woman I was becoming. Mad Max was a smart little two door white Pontiac Grand Am. That car was a true road warrior, having more than 130,000 miles on it when it began to fall apart. The Hubs began to call it the Gran-Damn after the electric window went out and the transmission started to go. I drove it until it literally died and had to be pushed from our driveway. My next car was Dusty, the gorgeous Suburban. Apropos because she was the color of West Texas dust and I never had to wash her. It held giant Britax car seats and dogs, and I hated to give her up.
Not only do Baby Spice and I name our horseless carriages, we wreck them. Since Dusty, I have had a long string of bumper cars. The Hubs recently suggested that I no longer name my cars, because they weren’t around long enough to know on a first-name basis. But still, I can’t stop myself. I have kicked up my crazy and am now naming appliances. It started last year when I purchased my first real vacuum cleaner, an Oreck Forever Series upright. It was the most money I have ever spent on myself at one time. Which is kind of sad, now that I think about it. He’s all black and he just purrs! Hence, I knew he needed a name that bespoke his majesty and import. And maybe my sticker shock. I named him Johnny Cash. And much like the Man in Black, he is one of my favorite things to listen to.
But, like all rock stars, he’s also a bit of a pain. You have to plug him in, room to room. Change his bag each time, and he prefers the pricey odor-reducing HEPA filtration bags. With two kids and two hairy dogs, vacuuming the floors and changing bags every day was starting to feel like a lot of work. I started using a good old-fashioned custodian-style broom, but those don’t work as well as vacuums.
I don’t want y’all to think I am some kind of floor cleaning fanatic. Furthest thing from it – but our dog Dutch is an Anatolian Sheppard/Great Pyrenees. Which is a fancy name for hybrid white hairball. I swear, he sheds enough to make another, smaller dog every day. Yes, I’ve tried brushing him. Doesn’t help much. It’s been so hot that his body just sets that hair free. In clumps, like so many tiny mohawks on my brown concrete floors. I guess The Hubs was tired of hearing me complain about “His Dog’s” hair, because he surprised me with my very own iRobot Roomba.
Now, I don’t want to oversell this. But, I am fairly certain that the Roomba is the greatest invention of all time. All time. So great, in fact, that I decided it needed a name. A name that really noted its importance in my household. We have gone round and round about it here. My son Parksalot wants to name it Applesauce. I think he must be hungry. My daughter Bodacious wants to name it Alfred, after Batman’s valet. I have tried to explain to her that the Roomba is more like a butler than a valet. Everyone knows that a valet is a personal male attendant, responsible for the clothes and appearance of the man of the house. A butler is the chief manservant of the house and supervises other servants.
In essence, I am the valet here, and the Roomba is the butler. I am in charge of most of the clothes shopping and laundering. The Roomba cleans the floors and keeps us on our cleaning schedule. After dinner, housewide pick-up begins so that the floors are clothes-, shoe- and videogame-free. Yep, that’s right – the Roomba has turned everyone else into the cleaning staff. We’ve been butlered.
Since my house is often bedlam, I think having our own butler brings a sense of civility to the chaos. We are so genteel-ish, now. And in that spirit, I have opted to name my Roomba after the world’s greatest butler – Downton Abbey’s Mr. Carson. If you aren’t familiar with the series, Wired.com described the oh-so-proper Carson as a man that considered himself, “the last line of defense against a moral decay brought on by the modern world.”
Totally what I am going for! Tea, anyone?