Confessions chapter 4: Rabbit names.
Duty number 2 on my road trip, (after getting us all to Albuquerque alive,) was finding a name for my new bunny friend. I don’t want to insult the wonderful volunteer who named him Chewy (whoever you are – it is a cute name), but with my overactive imagination, a name like Chewy for a rabbit starts to fall into the same category as Stringy or Medium Rare. Plus, I knew a guy in middle school named Chewy and he was lame.
My road-trip buddy Simin and I both figured something would inspire a name somewhere between San Francisco and Albuquerque. We read road signs, town names, bridge names, and wash names. We passed Joshua trees but he didn’t seem like a Joshua. We went through Wasco, California (where we got the air conditioner fixed,) but he definitely wasn’t a Wascolly Wabbit. We drove through Bakersfield, Tehachapi, Boron (Borox capital of the world!), Hinkley, Barstow, Dagget, Ludow, Needles, Topock and Yucca. None of the names seemed right. We stopped to take pictures of an unbelievably fabulous sunset, but none of the many colors in it were a fitting name for my white-and-gray bunny.
On the first night we stayed in Kingman, Arizona. Having learned in Wasco that my bunny fit very well in a canvas bag, I avoided any possible no-pets rule by carrying him into our room Paris-Hilton-style, gently pushing his curious fuzzy head back into the bag. No one was the wiser. I put him on a towel in the bathtub with some hay and a cup of water, and he flopped down happily. What a cute bunny!! I brushed him a little and asked him what I should name him. He stared at me, chewing hay. (Chewy – I get it now. It is a totally cute name for a rabbit. Oh, well, too late.) I did briefly consider naming him Hay… but naming an animal after what it ate seemed wrong. What if we named children things like Sweet Potato and Cheerio? Or Hamburger? Or Banana Cream Pie? (…That would be kind of funny actually.)
Well, back to business. The next day, we drove though Seligman, Ash Fork, Williams, then made a detour to the Grand Canyon (which was ironically foggy) and went though Cameron, stopped briefly outside Tuba City to look at some dinosaur tracks (Brontosaurus could have been a pretty great name,) then passed through Hoteville, Polacca, Kearns Canyon, and Window Rock. All remarkably bad names for a living creature.
The countryside was beautiful and inspiring. It made me want to paint and take pictures – but it failed to inspire a name for my rabbit.
We crossed the New Mexico border drawing a blank.
(Did you know I’m a writer? Like a professional writer. Like they pay me to come up with names for things. It was getting embarrassing that I couldn’t come up with a name for my own pet rabbit.)
Outside of Gallup it was starting to get dark. We were only two hours from Albuquerque. We were all tired and I was mildly nauseous from a 7-layer burrito I’d gotten at a drive-through. We were kind of sad that the road trip was almost over. And I missed San Francisco. I missed all my bars in the Tendernob. I missed Geary street. And O’farrel street. And Leavenworth street. And Jones street. Was my bunny a Jones? I looked at him. He was sitting there all sleepy looking handsome, but definitely not rugged. Jones was wrong.
My first apartment was at Ellis and Jones, right in the heart of the Tenderloin. I loved that place. I’ve wanted to use the name Ellis for a long time, because it was also my grandfather’s name. It has extra meaning for me. But it’s such an old-fashioned name, and it sounds kind of like Alice if you’re not paying attention. He needed something else in there.
45 minutes outside of Albuquerque, I named him Ellis Jose Francisco.
But I usually call him, “What a cute bunny!!!!”