Yes, it’s true. I named my car. Her name is Princess Leia. Princess, for short. Why this name? Well, her GPS voice sounds like a princess. But more importantly, her regular passenger is Yoda (I almost said Yoda regularly rides Princess Leia, but people, please, I know you well and not only would I have to shovel your minds out of the gutter, but Star Wars fans everywhere would have my head for spreading a blasphemous rumor). I simply love my Prius. That’s a huge statement for someone who is admittedly not at all a car girl. I remember in grade school one summer I was splashing around in the deep end at the Middleton swimming pool and Bobby Meicher asked me what kind of car I wanted to drive when I grew up. I told him a Spider. Keep in mind, I didn’t know then, and still don’t know now, what exactly a Spider is. A Google search shows Spider cars made by Alfa Romeo, Porsche, Ferrari and Mitsubishi, and really, none of them do it for me. Anyway, I said “Spider” because I wanted Bobby to think I was cool. It worked.
The truth of the matter is I lied. I secretly wanted a 1973 Buick station wagon because that was what my Mom drove. In my 6th grade mind, Mom + station wagon = cool. I never was any good at math.
Up until Princess, I’ve looked at my cars simply as a means to get me from point A to point B. But Princess, well, she’s different. Her Prius personality means she has a fuel-efficient, smooth and very quiet drive. She’s rarely let me down when using her navigation system (although there was the one time she led me on a “short cut” through a military base without me realizing that the GPS signal would be blocked, leaving me driving aimlessly for about an hour until I finally reached the other side). Her lumbar support is like heaven, and she has a shockingly large amount of space in the back hatch. Big enough that Yoda and I can both comfortably sleep if for some reason I can’t find a hotel on the road.
This love for Princess is why I just gifted her a spa day in prep for our road trip. I’ve become a coin car wash girl ever since my salary tanked over the past year along with our economy. Gone are my film executive days where every Wednesday morning the mobile car wash guy would collect my keys from me at my desk and return them an hour later, leaving a finely detailed car in my parking spot. Both Princess and I miss those days. However today, courtesy of a free car wash coupon, I treated her to a real grooming at Bonus Car Wash. She was vacuumed, soaped and polished, and afterwards, I swear I heard her navigation voice giggle with glee.
The second part of spa day was getting fitted with racks and a car topper. Last Friday my sister Betsy pointed out the obvious: despite Princess’ spacious interior, I wouldn’t have room for any of my things once Yoda, his food and bed were packed. I hadn’t thought this far ahead. A trial packing session proved Betsy to be right. Panic arose until a call to Toyota led me to Rack Solid, the only rack specialty shop in Los Angeles (which happens to be a mere 3 blocks from my house). Now that Princess is rocking a new Thule car topper, I should probably begin to think about packing. I leave in 5 days and now have a lot of space to fill.