Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Something nudged my memory today of a voice I haven't heard in a long time...of a 1980s Chrysler we owned some many years ago. It talked to us, that car did. And when the car headed down the road to another owner I almost wished we could have kept its voice... just for the laughs it gave us.

Computerized, it was. A very polite computerly male voice reminded us every time we started the car to "Please fasten your seat belts." I know he was polite because once the belt was fastened Mr. Puter would respond with a gentlemanly "Thank you." To which we, naturally (or unnaturally), would respond, "You're welcome." Until the 4 millionth time, that is. By then our natural politeness had reached its limit and we were more likely to respond with "Oh, Shut UP!"

I want to add that we never said those words in polite, it was too impolite to say "shut up". If we wanted someone to be silent we would admonish them with "Be quiet." Sometimes even "Please, be quiet". But Mr. Puter had pushed us far enough and "Oh, Shut Up!" would fall hissingly through our lips.

Our small grandchildren loved riding in our talking car even though they did not quite understand "Your door is ajar!" They knew "door" and they knew "jar" and did not see how the two could coincide. To their way of thinking they were hearing "Your door is a jar." And even though Mr. Puter was a puter, it just didn't pute. (Is that a word?)

One helpful message I heard only once..."Your oil pressure is low." I stopped and checked the dipstick and Mr. Puter was right! We'd recently had the oil changed and the only thing we can figure is that the attendant failed to put in sufficient oil. Nasty surprise, that!

There were numerous other messages such as "Your fuel is low." And I'm certain there were phrases we never heard...just because the situation never arose for Mr. Puter's much-needed advice. I'm betting he could have, and would have, said such helpful words as "Someone has slashed your tires" or "Picking up hitchhikers can be dangerous" or "Watch out for the deer." Useful things to know under the circumstances.

I wish we had kept Mr. Puter's voice. We could have installed him in our current vehicle and today he would have said, "Watch out for ice. You are in Iowa and it is February."

To which I would have responded, "Oh, Shut up!"

(I must add as small disclaimer: today we have partly cloudy skies and the only ice remaining on the roads is on our side-streets. The main highways and byways are clear and dry.)



l'optimiste said...

chuckalicious! I want Mr Puter for my car too! He would most likely say: "you need to have this thing valeted!"

Debby said...

Oooh. Ice in February in Iowa?!!!! I'm shocked.

I have to tell you, we have not had even a fraction of the winter woes that you all have had out there, but still, I'm so ready for spring.


Karen said...

Very cute post! Who would've thought that one day our cars would be directing us via voices coming from within the dashboard?!?

Are there any cars out there that warn you about when your vehicle needs to be re-inspected? Last year, I completely forgot to have mine inspected, and I was pulled over and received a $130.00 fine.

Where's that little "voice" when you REALLY need it?!?

Debra said...

Heehee-this post tickled my funny bone. I would have liked to hear Mr. Puter...

Kelly said...

This was a fun post!

It's nice to know you're roads are looking better now. Maybe Spring is in sight, ya think??

S. Etole said...

reminds me of the "voice of conscience" and how sometimes we tire of it while at the same time being grateful for it

Laurie M. said...

I used to work for a rental car agency in the '80's. We carried some of those Chrysler products in our fleet. I well remember "The door is ajar." And I always answered, "No it's a door." Somehow though I remember the voice being female....hmmm....maybe the cars came in two sexes....maybe that's why there were so many of them....