When Inanimate Objects Achieve Consciousness
We’ve noticed an interesting trend in our house. Over the years the inanimate things around us have slowly taken on a life of their own. They develop personalities and even have individual quirks.
Take the older vacuum. It has been around for decades. We inherited it from Joe’s grandmother. It resides in the basement where it works sucking up cat litter, dryer lint, and the occasional spider. It is held together with duct tape and has a loud, rumbling roar. We have named this beast Attila.
Attila is the perfect name for this vacuum. He is an old warrior, scarred, loud, but still battling. He may be a little grumpy (he definitely growls when his dust bag is too full) but he gets the job done. His worst habit is that he blows dust out his, well, rear.
Now our upstairs vacuum is completely different. New, sleek, efficient, she glides through the day effortlessly. She has sensors that tell us when her dust bag is full (a bag, by the way, that doesn’t leak dust), she has a HEPA filter and several settings for rugs, bare floors, and upholstery. She is shiny, upright and beautiful. And the name of this vacuuming goddess? Athena.
The air filter in our daughter’s bedroom is known as Wheezer for the sounds he makes. We think he has worse allergies than she does. Wheezer is temperamental and grouchy. He growls at everyone except our daughter, who he seems to like. He particularly loathes the cats, and they take delight in tormenting Wheezer until his warning lights flash into the red zone and he shrieks his indignation at having to filter cat fur.
And the list goes on. We have a pickaxe named Bertha and a computer named Jafrey, after a wise-ass character in our book, Time’s Edge. Jafrey’s personality and the computer’s personality are so similar its downright eerie. And don’t get us started about the toilet in the main bath. It sighs, it groans, sometimes it even hisses. It effectively combines rudeness with martyrdom, and its editorial comments can be, shall we say, annoyingly timely. We suspect it’s suffering from job burn-out and needs to retire. We haven’t named it. We don’t want to encourage it.