I call my car Uct for multiple reasons.
- That’s what the letters on the license plate spell.
- It’s nicely non-gender specific.
- I kind of like the way it sounds.
Uct was in the shop for a week, and I had a rental car, a shiny new Jetta. (Uct came into the world in 2006.) The Jetta had many features Uct does not: remote keyless entry, electronic windows, a really comfortable seat. (Uct would like the record to show that it has reasonably comfortable seats, just not really comfortable seats.) I also liked the way the Jetta felt on the road.
Since the Jetta and I spent a week together, I began to feel unfaithful to Uct, so when I went to pick up my faithful vehicle, I was relieved to discover that I was happy to have it back. The Jetta might have been new and shiny, but Uct is familiar. I know exactly how it rounds the corner into the parking lot when I’m late to work; I know where its edges are when I pull into my narrow garage.
Another way of putting this is that Uct belongs to me in much the same way we belong to our family members and friends. There will always be someone shinier than we are, someone with better clothes, more money, more success, a flatter stomach, or a cooler car, but those who love us don’t really care. They love us, the whole package—they don’t measure us by our various attributes.
The idea of belonging to another person can bring to mind a controlling relationship, which is certainly unhealthy, but I mean here a deep and intimate knowing that leads to acceptance of all the parts of another person and a consequent ability to treasure him or her. So to all those to whom I belong, thank you for loving me, manual locks and all.