In Which I Make Friends With Inanimate Objects.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 0.603% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

The first friend I met today was a towel. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a very good friend to the towel, but I did my best to console it.

Because the towel in the hotel room had been hanging there since I used it yesterday, and it was slightly damp. I reached to the hotel rack for a fresh towel, then realized this poor towel had been hanging all night just waiting for me to get back, and now it was watching me choose a newer, better towel right in front of it….

So, yes. I reached out and squeezed the old towel affectionately just to let it know this was nothing personal.

I do this all the time.

I once stopped my wife from pouring water out of a jug, because I’d been using it for weeks to water our plants, and “It wants to feel useful.” I made friends with a small sample-sized bottle of shampoo, for absolutely no good reason I could explain, being absolutely convinced it wanted to sit happily in the left corner of the tub, and consistently moved it back whenever anyone shifted it. I apologize to chairs I bump into.

(The flip side to this, of course, is when I bang my head on the door sill when I’m getting out of a van and get angry because it meant to hurt me.)

I’m not crazy, or at least not entirely; I don’t think they come alive in the night, Pixar-style, to dance and hold hushed conferences on how kind I was that day. I just sort of sloppily imbue ambitions onto whatever’s around me, and pack-bond them the way a three-year-old suddenly picks up an affection for some random spork.

It’s a harmless quirk, and not a strong one; when the shower bottle was empty, I didn’t carry it around with me because we were besties, I said a happy farewell and chucked it in the trash can. (Which, now that I think about it, did not have an opinion on me insofar as I could tell.) But I’m not quite sure why I do this; is it because I spend so much time trying to model the behavior of other humans that it spills over into ordinary life? Did I have some past childhood trauma related to a toy being taken away?

I dunno. Either way, I just sort of do it, so subconsciously that it’s taken me years of married life to have my wife inform me that this is, in fact, a thing for me.

By writing this, I’m kind of hoping to find that other people also feel sympathy for inanimate carbon rods. Or I may just find out I’m totally bonkers.

Doesn’t matter much either way. I know the shampoo bottle thinks well of me.

6 Comments

  1. Papa Fargo
    Sep 30, 2019

    I’ll give personality to the things I interact with on a more permanent basis. Computers. Cars. Usually electronics. Traffic lights. Things that can interact back in one way or another. I’ll thank most things that I use but not necessarily interact anything beyond that or ascribe them motivations.

    If I slam a door too hard I’ll apologize. (A friend called me out for that once and I hadn’t realized I did it until them.) I’ll feel bad if I “hurt” an object. Drop it, slam it, break it in some way.

  2. Doug S.
    Sep 30, 2019

    My wife treats her cars as though they were alive.

  3. Bea
    Oct 1, 2019

    As others have said, it’s really an extension of what we do with vehicles. Cars and boats/ships all get names and personalities–hell, we even did it to the ocean itself!
    I have conversations with my sewing projects as I cajole them into being (as well as the talking to the machine itself). πŸ™‚

  4. Jonathan Jordan
    Oct 3, 2019

    So glad to hear I am not alone in this. I don’t think I do it much, but I know I have attributed “feelings” to inanimate objects.

    What I do a lot more often is the same thing, but with parts of my body. Like, I try to wash a different arm first some days just so they don’t get jealous of each other.

  5. Anonymous Alex
    Oct 5, 2019

    Seems to me like just a matter of degree. We attribute intention to other people, animals, etc. in varying degrees depending on a number of factors; extending this to inanimate objects doesn’t strike me as too incomprehensible. And like many things, it’s harmless enough in small doses.

    -Alex

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