My first love was named Wally. He was a white 1991 Toyota Camry, handed down from my dad to my older sister and then to me. I strongly believed that Wally was an extension of myself. He had a cute little Lilo hula girl staring out his back window and college stickers from both my sister and me and was always a mess. He’s been toilet-papered twice on different homecoming weekends and has even been egged. However, the egging consisted of one egg, so I am not even really sure if that counts as an official egging.

Although Wally seemed perfect to me, I was not completely blind to his faults. He couldn’t accelerate well, hence, I was forced many times to enter the freeway at 40 miles per hour, which in California is quite dangerous. Additionally, his air conditioning smelled odd, which meant it was only used when absolutely necessary – truly unfortunate in the torturous California heat. Despite his problems, I still miss Wally and his unique “personality.” While reminiscing about Wally, I wondered, is it possible that other people also view their cars as extensions of themselves? To see if my premonition is correct, why not investigate the cars of the administrators and faculty at UR and see what they say about their owners.

Matthew Burns, the associate dean of students, and his partner decided to cut down on costs and share a car, and nothing says love more than Lex, a gold Lexus sports utility vehicle.

“If you have to share, share something really nice,” Burns explained.

Lex is a plain guy, with no bumper stickers of any other sort of decoration but useful in the winter when transporting two children back and forth from Albany. Well, the color gold, according to Jacci Bear, an online color interpreter, means riches, extravagance, wealth and prosperity. SUVs are also commonly associated with power and dominance, a useful trait for an administrator at a university.

To reflect his love of the outdoors, Provost Charles Phelps picked a 2002 BMW X5 sport utility vehicle and named him Samson. Samson was purchased mainly because he is the ideal mate for Delilah, Phelps’ camping trailer.

“I have [Samson] because I live out in the country and need a four-wheel drive to move around in the winter, and my wife and I like the [outdoors], including camping with a camping trailer.”

The pairing of Samson and Delilah, hopefully, is more successful than the original and tragic pairing of the two humans with similar biblical names. In the religious story, Delilah betrays Samson by taking away his strength and letting his enemies torture him. However, judging from these outdoor loving vehicles’ absence of hair, perhaps this modern Delilah will have to settle with somehow removing Samson’s 4.4-liter V8 290 horsepower engine instead.

For Vice President and General Secretary Paul Burgett, a green Subaru Outback, LL Bean, six cylinder version, was the perfect fit for his “tall carcass.”

“Roomy, higher off the ground than regular cars without being an SUV, has all-wheel drive and rear slip differential so that in icy conditions power is transferred to non-spinning wheels,” Burgett explained.

Burgett followed the trend of other administrators of not decorating his car, but did admit to sticking a “Eugene McCarthy for President” bumper sticker on a pervious car in 1968. Perhaps the subsequent defeat of McCarthy and the difficulty of prying the sticker off his car contributed to his current car’s sticker free visage.

Burgett feels that his car shows that he is steady, safety minded and can easily transport a lot of stuff. Station wagons are famous for being safe well-built cars, and for being reliable. And what does Jacci Bear’s Web site have to say about green?

“Green is life. Abundant in nature, green signifies growth, renewal, health, and environment. On the flip side, green is jealousy, or envy and inexperience.”

After his Mazda failed the challenges of Rochester’s ice and snow, political science department chair Gerald Gamm decided to move on and up, so Gamm traded his faithful, but inadequate Mazda in for a blue 2000 Audi.

“I like the Audi because it’s all-wheel drive and doesn’t let snow push it around.”

Gamm describes his car as very clean, but also a little dusty inside.

“As a rule, I don’t allow trash in my car,” Gamm said, dashing some people’s dreams of ever riding in his car.

Gamm believes that his car would reveal that he likes to hug the road and take corners crisply. His car also says that he’s sleek, not afraid of the elements and likes to be in control – the car is stick shift.

The color blue is “calming” according to Bear’s Web site. “It can be strong and steadfast or light and friendly. Almost everyone likes some shade of the color blue.”

Perhaps this means that almost everyone likes Gamm’s multi-faceted personality. An interesting observation is that a professor of American history and politics owns an European car.

Woo can be reached at mwoo@campustimes.org.



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