Tuesday, July 03, 2007

who am I again?

Frank and I are thinking of buying a new car.

Both our cars are twenty or more years old. OK, mine's 18 years old, but 20 sounds more dramatic. Frank's Combie is 32 years old. A new car seems in order, although they both still drive perfectly well, so the need exists in our minds more than in reality.

As an employee of the public health service I get to salary package, legally avoiding tax on a percentage of my income. There aren't many perks in public service, and with the packaging it almost makes economic sense to take out a loan. Any excuse for a new car is plausible and reasonable...

No doubt the biggest influencing factor in the 'will-we-won't-we' debate has been all those beautiful car advertisements. Aren't they wonderful? Lovely sweeping vistas; smooth lines; copious amounts of must-have image... and the sound tracks! How can we resist the urge to buy a new car when every ad evokes exhilarating emotions just by the music.* I'm talking Alex Lloyd's 'You were amazing' for Ford, or this one from Hyundai . And what about this ad from Renault... cute. There are other better examples that I can't locate right now, but obviously ads work. I want a new car. More and more every day.

So this is the story. (And it really has very little to do with buying a car, I've just wanted to write about that for a while, and in the interest of blogging efficiency combining two stories into one seemed beneficial) We are looking at buying some kind of Volkswagon small car (maybe. and that's a big maybe) and I decided to be really clever and request a brochure or three online.

I arrived home from work today to discover an 'Australian Air Express' note advising me to come and collect a package from the airport. I traipsed out of town in my reliable but bomby, windy, rattly, squeaky car and discovered that Volkswagon are so keen to make a sale they didn't use just any ordinary post. Nope - they went all out with Australian Air Express post.

As I collected the package (and this is the crux of the story) I had to write my name and sign for it. Without thinking I wrote my maiden name and signed... before realising what I had done and scribbling it out and scrawling my married name and signature while blithely advising the man at the counter that it didn't matter anyway - I'm still me.

But who is me?

When Frank and I got married I toyed with the idea of keeping my maiden name. Some kind person at church made the decision for me, whisking away my old name tag and replacing it with a tag emblazoned with my married name before I was even headed on the honeymoon. (Do I detect some excitement that Frank and I finally tied the knot?!) They may have been excited. I was less than impressed - not because I don't like Frank's name, because I do. (And by the end of the honeymoon when I returned to discover my spanking new badge, I had decided I would adopt Frank's name because he had looked so genuinely pleased when I told him I was seriously considering it) It's just that I had my other name for 31 years. I was kind of attached. That was who I was!

After 18 months of marriage I'm coming to terms with the loss of my maiden name. I rarely have to think about what I'll call myself, I sign the right signature without pausing to think about how to form the shapes of the letters... my new title is no longer completely foreign on my tongue.

But now I've regressed and signed my maiden name?! How can this be? It doesn't help that I chose to stick with my maiden name at work - the last vestige of the old Cecily. I must have been signing my name there lots lately, because out that maiden name popped tonight without me even thinking.

But I do like being Frank's wife. I really do.

It just takes some getting used to!

* "Songs carry emotional information and some transport us back to a poignant time, place or event in our lives. It's no wonder a corporation would want to hitch a ride on the spell these songs cast and encourage you to buy soft drinks, underwear or automobiles while you're in the trance." Tom Waits

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At 12:43 am, July 04, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

Wouldn't a newer car be more environmentally friendly too? Not that I'm trying to bias your choice at all :) What about one of those hybrid things??
The change of name thing is WEIRD isn't it?

At 5:33 am, July 04, 2007, Anonymous Car For Sale Sign said...

There is kinda a level of commitment that comes with getting married and deciding to be associated with each other. It is understandable that writing your name as your married name might take soem time to get used to but it is who you are now.

At 12:15 pm, July 05, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

Hi Cecily, I kept my maiden name, well I hyphen it. Two reasons, my brother is the last to carry my fathers name, he can't have children, so I decided to keep it. Two, it was easier to add another name on my lisence/social security card etc. than to change my name. So legally I am still me with another name added on. It does confuse taxes and sorts and people around here only know me with my married name.

Complicated, but I wanted it that way. I actually like my husband's name better anyway.

Good luck on the new car. I can't believe you can keep cars that long. 32 years to keep a car is long time. You should get an award for having a car last that long.


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