My husband drives a Pilot, an older model, bulky, squarish, always clean inside. I drive a CRV, fondly called Curvy, squattier than the Pilot, always a bit of a mess. The floorboards are littered with crumpled tinfoil from egg sandwiches eaten en route to school, a dirty soccer sock hides out under the driver's seat, clumps of mud from lacrosse cleats cling to the backseat carpet.
She is, on a good day, disheveled. In order to spare Curvy any shame should an unexpected passenger need a ride, I bark orders at my teenaged sons.
"Quick!" I say, in a panic, "Toss the loose books, water bottles, and gum wrappers into the main back. One of you swipe up the melted Hershey kiss from inside that little compartment by the door handle. Use that old ripped t-shirt in the backseat to wipe down the dashboard."
A few weeks ago, I wrecked Curvy, dashing off half her left rearview mirror against the side of the garage. I've backed that car out thousands of times without incident; but I was running late, and my parents were visiting. I was trying to avoid bumping their vehicle when I heard the sickening crunch of the mirror glass. A lump jumped from my chest to my throat. I knew it was bad without looking. When I did look, her side mirror was hanging akimbo and my reflection was a jigsaw puzzle. For a couple weeks, I drove her around, her mirror a testament to my negligence...like sending the boys to school with bad haircuts or unsigned permission slips. I was relieved when my husband ordered a replacement part and patched Curvy up himself with a little gorilla glue. Not quite good as new, but good...a small scar marking the place where he reattached the severed mirror casing.
Curvy has not had a winter wash in a couple of winters. I feel bad for her; but with kids, and work, and life in general, her cleanliness is not a top priority. She soldiers on...through rain, slush, snow, salt. I wonder if she's embarrassed, parked in the garage beside Pilot. He seems like a take-charge type...the kind who might rub it in just a little that she's always so haphazard. He is like a pilot, well-kempt and wise...a little standoffish.
Curvy, on the other hand, is long-suffering, approachable...on hand every day, carting us without complaint to practice and the mall and church and the grocery store.
Now that my older son has his driver's license, the Pilot will soon be his car. I find some comfort in that. Pilot has proven himself a leader among cars...strong, invincible, reputable, proud. Perhaps Pilot will take issue with the fact that he will no longer warrant garage status and will be parked, instead, in the back driveway...exposed to the elements.
Curvy, humble and serviceable, will not gloat. Instead, she will rumble a sigh of regret. Pilot has been her roommate now for more than five years. Despite his authoritative air, he's been company for her. Curvy forgives his egotism.
My husband is shopping for a replacement vehicle for the Pilot...something newer, shinier, bigger, boxier...
He asks my opinion, touting mileage reports, safety reviews, color, make, model. I'm more concerned with the name.
"What about a Rogue?" I suggest. "Curvy would like sharing close quarters with a Rogue...rakish good looks, a bit of a mischief maker." My husband shakes his head and swipes his tablet.
"Umm...no," he says. He keeps looking. Whomever (I mean whatever) he chooses, I'm sure Curvy, true to form, will make the best of it.