Finally! After four months of searching, I’ve found a new car – well new to me that is…but…while I don’t usually name inanimate objects, she is crying out for the perfect name to reflect her beauty and utility!
You read about how I hate cars in my April 25 post , “The Great Car Dilmena.” It was written about a month after my 14-year-old Windstar let me down and died – temporarily dead – in the middle of a Jocotepec street.
If you missed that post, click on the title to read it now…
For all of these weeks, I’ve been deep in the throes of searching for a used car. A friend of a friend has been combing the lots in Guadalajara while I’ve poured over online listings of available “Semi-nuevos” as used cars are called here. I’ve learned more than I wanted to know about the Ford Escape, CR-V, EcoSport, PT Cruiser, and similar practical and economical vehicles.
I didn’t want much…just not beige
My requirements were fairly simple. I need room for myself and the passengers who go with me on the driving overviews I use to acquaint newcomers with the neighborhoods, villages, highways and byways of Lake Chapala.
The narrow streets and high curbs (and the topes – speed bumps) here make a vehicle that is high off the ground a huge plus. I wanted something comfortable and easy to get into and out of – both for now, and for the future – I plan to keep this car 8-10-12 years or more and none of us is getting much younger and more flexible.
Trying to be practical and business-like, I told myself that the outside color doesn’t affect the quality of the vehicle and that price and condition are the important criteria. Meanwhile, my heart was chanting and begging, “PLEASE, not gray or beige.”
Four Months – No Cars
Into the fourth month of searching, I was beginning to give up hopes of ever finding a car in my price range that hadn’t been wrecked, mistreated, or been hauling a passel of kids -- Until I stopped into Farmacia Jessica to visit with my primary physician, friend and Godfather, Dr. Leopoldo Ibarra.
“What kind of car do you want?” he asked. “What about another minivan?”
Polo explained that his wife wanted a smaller car for all the driving she does in Guadalajara. Hilda lives there during the week and operates their Guadalajara clinic and pharmacy. While she didn’t want to sell her Chrysler Town and Country LTD, he thought the promise of a smaller car and selling the van to a friend might tempt her to sell her the car she’s been pampering. Over the next few days we made a deal – I didn’t see the car or know about all the plusses it has until the day I drove her home.
I could name her Mentholatum
I’ve never named a car before, but this sweetheart is so glossy and red (think candy apple with a shimmer of gold/metallic) she’s begging for an appropriate name.
My first idea came from a favorite story of a Mexican woman near the border who called her handyman, Mentholatum, because he fixed everything. This car is loaded, but then it doesn’t take much to impress me.; I’ve been driving without a radio since the antenna disappeared three years ago and with the cold air from the AC coming out of the defroster vents.
This car seems a little like Mentholatum – it does everything. There’s no owner’s manual so I’m learning by trial and error. Among all the bells and whistles, I discovered a 4-CD player with an extra set of controls on the steering wheel, and the other day I found a button that shows my gas mileage, how many liters of gas are left in the tank, and how many more kilometers I can drive until I run out of gas.
The message screen told me that it’d been 7200 kms since the last oil change – supposed to be just 5,000. When I checked the invoices saved by the good doctor’s wife, I saw that the last oil change was in April, exactly 7200 kms ago. So I took it into Beto at Hernandez in San Antonio for service. For fun, I had him check the tires – the message told me all were low – I thought they looked fine. Beto looked at the tires and didn’t think they were low either, until he put the gauge to the stem – and added air to all four, not much, but still…how does it know this stuff?
Help Me Name the Baby
So now that you know a bit about her, I’m waiting for your name suggestions – my favorite names seem to revolve around her color – I’ve thought Poppy, Valentina, Scarlet, Sandia (watermelon), and Cinnamon (as in red hots or Fire Stix) and Ruby. I also considered the names of Big, beautiful, courageous women who had voices to match to celebrate all the music in the car. There’s Kate Smith, Mama Cass, Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson, Eleanor Roosevelt – okay, she wasn’t a singer, but she sure had found her voice – and used it.
I considered a religious bent – maybe I could name her for St. Clare, the patron saint of visions and especially of television – she would fit right in with the message board and the TV and 3-disc DVD player. in the back of the car.
Email me your name ideas –
Send in those cards and letters with ideas for naming my new “baby” to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll even sweeten the pot…If I select your entry, I’ll give you a free annual subscription to Living at Lake Chapala – with the archived issues – That’s a $64.90 US value – just for the perfect name!