I recently put my car in the shop because it needed a new catalytic converter.

When I told that to a friend of mine, he accused me of hating my car because I referred to it as “it” and not “she”. He explained that cars should be treated like women, because they will appreciate us and stay healthier. An analogy that would make sense if my car gave me the silent treatment when upset and not the clunky, rattling sounds I usually hear.

I should note that this friend of mine is a vegan, so oxygen cells in his brain are less common than a pod of Nissan Leafs in the fast lane. He’s a good guy, and it was nice of him to give me his two cents in between bites of his shadows and dirt pita wrap, or whatever he was eating.

I have to say that his theory is not just something he espouses. He puts it into practice. I’ve heard him not only refer to his car as “she” but also give words of encouragement when it/she was running poorly. I can’t decide if it’s out of love, or if it’s out of fear that nobody carries parts for a ’98 Ford Escort.

I’ll admit, I don’t pretend to know much about cars. I once thought 15w30 was just the jeans size for Brooklyn hipsters and “gapped spark plugs” meant slightly damaged, like what you’d find at an Auto Zone outlet store.

But still, I have to say that my buddy’s suggestion is slightly kookier than his “vision board”. In case you haven’t heard of this, a “vision board” is a board you fill with photos of your dreams in order to tell the universe what you want. Apparently the universe is deaf or has yet to study Rosetta Stone English, so you have to speak in pictures instead of just words.

For example, if you want to marry Selma Hayek and own a house in Seattle, then you find pictures of both, cut them out, and put them on your vision board, regardless of where Selma wants to live.

The vision board idea is growing in popularity. Thankfully, its practice is limited. I say “thankfully” not to squash the belief systems of others, but because I don’t want it to get to the point where we replace food packages to Haiti with a stack of IHOP menus and Rachel Ray magazines.

It’s nice to think that we have control over outside forces. A lot of it, however, is simply wishful thinking. Take, for example, the idea that playing music can help things grow. Maybe for plants, but not for hair. Trust me. I have twelve feet of ivy on my fire escape and a clogged shower drain for exhibits A and B.

My friend, like many people I know in New York, is super cool. I hope I don’t come across in this blog as a snarky know-it-all. I just think that preventing car problems with positive energy is more futile than asking Jiffy Lube to actually be “jiffy”.

He swears, though, that it helps. So by all means, go and try it for yourself. See how it works. When someone suggests you change your oil every three months or 3,000 miles, ignore them and say, “I’ll just give her a hood rub and tell her she’s pretty.” Later, when you’re on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck, take a picture of the moving traffic and put it on your vision board.

Happy motoring!

Categories: Columns