Cars with personality

Batman roars down the streets of Gotham City in his dark, sleek Batmobile. Austin Powers cruises down the streets of London in his loud, flashy Shaguar. Fred Flintstone shuffles through the streets of Bedrock in his primitive foot-powered vehicle.

What do they have in common? They all spend a considerable amount of time and effort on their cars, and in turn, their cars all say something about their driver.

Fast forward to Miami, 2002. With a school made up of 40 percent commuters who get to school two hours before class starts to be able to get a good parking space and stay here all day, maybe go to work, and then spend up to an hour in their cars trying to get home in rush hour traffic, it is no surprise that their cars would take on a personality of their own.

But what gives a car personality? Well, like the Batmobile, a good car has to have a good name.

“My car’s name is Sebastian,” said freshman Tarah Rogowski, who drives a silver Volkswagen Jetta. “I wanted to name him something refined, but still edgy, so I named it after the Ryan Phillipe character in Cruel Intentions.”

Much like Sebastian, many cars have names that say a lot about them and their owners.

Here’s a fun fact: most guys name their cars girl names, and most girls name their cars guy names. I named my black Mustang Gaston after the villain in Beauty and the Beast because of his strong muscles. Freshman Mario Velez named his blue Volkswagen Passat after Alice from Alice in Wonderland.

Characteristic of Rogowski’s car are also the religious symbols strategically hidden throughout the car.

“When my family bought my car as a graduation gift, my grandmother, who is really religious, hid about 20 little medals and cards of different saints all over my car,” Rogowski said. “I find a new one every day.”

A lot of commuters carry some type of religious symbol or good luck charm in their cars. Beside the rosary hanging in his car, junior David Cruz has a tray overflowing with pennies. Every day, he adds any penny he finds or receives in change, and he has accumulated what he says are 50,000 pennies.

“I don’t intend on cashing them in,” Cruz said. “I just put another one in every day. It brings good luck, I guess.”

Though good luck charms and names give a car character, it is what is inside that really counts. What a person carries in his or her car really says a lot about who that person is and really shows how much time commuters spend on the road.

If someone took a tour of Cruz’s compact Honda Civic, one would find a sporting goods store on wheels. Since he bike rides, he carries his helmet, gloves, riding jersey, and a jacket for when it gets cold on the trails. Cruz also carries a tent in his back seat for whenever he decides to go camping.

“My trunk pretty much tells like my life story,” says freshman Ana Dolina, who did not clean out her trunk after she graduated from high school.

Since Dolina was the editor of her high school newspaper, she still carries stacks of every issue published last year. On top of the heaps of newspaper are books from all four years of high school. And to top it all off, she still carries her school uniform shoes.

Rushing down the newly constructed Grand-Prix-like lanes on San Amaro Drive, commuters have full faith that their Batmobile or Shaguar will snag that last double lined space in the Memorial lot.