Thursday, November 15, 2007

Inanimate Objects Have Feelings Too

I used to use Safari, and only Safari, and then Noko Marie pointed out that if I used Firefox I could link to things without typing in the links by hand, and so I started using Firefox for the blog, and then I just got into the habit of using Firefox, and now I haven't used Safari for months and months, and I feel kind of bad about it. I was just using Safari, moments ago, and it didn't remember any of the websites I wanted to go to, and the whole experience felt blank and sad, like when you lose touch with an old friend and then you get together to catch up, but you don't really have anything in common anymore so the whole experience actually leaves you feeling less close to them, because at least in your head they were still a major part of your life, but now you've been confronted by the harsh reality of the situation.

Once, when I was eight, I decided I wanted to keep a (grocery store bought) orange as a pet. It didn't end well. I don't remember the details. I think there was mold. I had a shoebox for it and everything.

When I was in high school, everybody had names for their cars. Actually, I still know a lot of people who have names for their cars. Or computers or ipods or whatever.

I like stuff; I know I've mentioned that before. I like my stuff in particular. And some of that's because of what I think it says about me, or because I think it's an extension of me, but some of it's that helpless human impulse towards emotional attachment.

When I was first quitting smoking, a friend of mine told me that her husband said that it was like having your best friend die. I would say it's more like having a terrible irrevocable falling out with your best friend. Not just in degree of unpleasantness, but qualitatively. There was this thing, and you had a relationship with it, and now you're turning your back on it, you're walking away. And I know that smoking doesn't miss me, at least I think I do, but it still feels kind of like a betrayal.


Noko Marie said...

Having just gotten a new hard drive for my damaged laptop, and installed Leopard on it, the metaphors of objects are much on my mind. Was my computer merely in a coma, or did it have a whole brain transplant?

While it was in the computer hospital I was using my "office" computer -- also a laptop, and indeed, a newer and larger one. A 15-inch MacBook Pro.

I started to enjoy the MacBook Pro, despite its being a huge pain to lug around. Big screen, springy keys; it's newer so it had some cooler features like a keyboard that lights up at the right moments.

Boy, did I feel like I was betraying the old 12-inch. I even fretted about whether I'd be happy to have it back.

Turns out I'm thrilled to have it back. It's like the smaller, svelter, more agile, better traveled younger cousin.

I am the kind of fanatic about organizing my bookmarks that I could never forget Safari -- I use it for some things and Firefox for others and the two domains never cross.

I'm with you though: these things really are more like betrayals than deaths.

Captain Colossal said...

That's such a huge relief, that you still were happy to have the 12" back.

My computer before this one was one of those mildly unhappy relationships that just goes on and on. I bought it right at that awkward moment when the disc drive was disappearing, and it wasn't exactly clear how the future was going to look, and I made all these bad choices, like going with the external zip drive and so forth, and the battery never worked but I didn't exactly care enough to get it fixed, and the computer looked nice, at least, so that was something, and I tried to tell myself that everything was fine, but it wasn't until I moved on that I realized how much better I could do. And I still feel a little bad about not putting the energy into that last computer. A different kind of betrayal, I guess.

chanchow said...

A couple months ago I went on a midday coffee break with some co-workers. The coffee shop sold birthday cards, stuffed animals and candles. I picked up an adorable fuzzy stuffed bear, petted it, and, without realizing it, said "he's my special friend." I think my co-workers were a little embarassed for me.

Captain Colossal said...

But did you feel bad when you left the bear in the store, or did you take it with you?

I'm going to come right out and say it -- I have a stuffed animal or two. They're gifts, and most of the time they're in my closet, but they're out there.

chanchow said...

I didn't take him home with me, but I still think about him and wonder how he's doing.