Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beach Glass

Do you ever anthropomorphize inanimate objects? For example, when you’re in the grocery store, do you ever think: “Oh, I have to buy this garlic, because I picked it up to look at it and now it expects to be purchased. If I leave it behind it will be disappointed.”

Embarrassingly enough, I do.

I don't quite know how to write about it without seeming crazy, and maybe it is a sign of mental illness or a lonely childhood*, but I anthropomorphize everything. I hate to throw away a paper clip because I imagine the paper clip saying, “Wait! I’m still perfectly good! Don’t discard me for no reason when I could clip papers for years and years to come!”

Sheets of paper, apples, ball point pens, you name it -- I can project emotions and expectations onto any object.

The other day, in this vein, I was wondering which object in my household I would most like to be. What’s the one thing I own that exists under the best, most comfortable circumstances?

I think it’s this stained glass window ornament that my grandmother bought on Cape Cod in the 1930s. It’s made of beach glass and supposedly represents a seagull on the ocean, but I always think of it as more of an abstract sculpture.

It sits up in my window, day in and day out, with an amazing view of my courtyard and all the apartments across the way, not to mention a smidgen of the Empire State Building. It sees rain and blue skies and pigeons and trees, with leaves and without. It sees snow and blistering hot sunshine. It just sits quietly, taking it all in -- or it would take it all in if it were sentient. And it’s never disturbed, except for an occasional washing with dish soap. What a life!

Except, of course, that it’s really not a life at all. Oh, yeah. There is that.



Barbara said...

I can't kill a bug. I can't throw away paper clips either. I must buy any fruit or vegetable that tumbles down because I touched it; I mean who who else would buy it if I didn't? I give everything the benefit of the doubt in terms of having a soul and brain equal to mine!

I draw the line at thinking of myself becoming an object, but I'm actually with you on most of those thoughts you mentioned.

I've never admitted this to anyone, especially the part about saving the paperclips of the world.

Merle Sneed said...

Interesting. I'm with Barbara on the bugs, but I've never given a thought to fruits, vegetables or paperclips.

Steve Reed said...

LOL -- Barbara, I'm so glad you identify (at least partially) with what I'm saying. It's not even that I really think these objects have a soul or sentience -- I just project that onto them. Why, I have no idea.

(Bugs, on the other hand, definitely are sentient in my book.)

It is oddly embarrassing to admit, isn't it? Why is that?

Merle: Those paper clips will come back to haunt you! Ha!

utahDOG! said...

I do the same things...even with little bits and geegaws like paperclips and pencils and stuff. Pennies on the street even.

I bet Mom did it to us somehow. Too many cheese sandwiches on the dock.