Anthropomorphism is a fun word. I’m not alone in my habit of talking to inanimate objects. If I’m driving down the road and the traffic light seems to stay green just a little longer than normal, then I’ll say thank you. I’ve been known to apologize to things I’ve dropped. I doubt that I owe too many apologies to objects.
I’ve been known to talk kindly to my computer after it’s behaved well. This almost seems necessary since it might need the recognition. We all know that computers do as they please when they want. If objects think, then, being designed by human beings to improve the work and leisure of humans beings, a computer’s most common thought should be, “I live to serve.” Instead, computers are all too fond of thinking things like, “Wrong button, moron”, or “Oh God, loading this feels so good that I think I’ll make it last as long as possible.”
Computers are not the only objects with petty motives for driving people crazy. When something is doing what it is supposed to, then it’s just a shirt or a hammer or a car. It’s when an object becomes defiant that it has personality.
Take a piece of paper or an envelope. Ordinarily, these are unassuming things, but every so often there is one that sees you coming. It thinks to itself, “En garde!” Once it delivers a nasty papercut, it thinks, “Touche!”
Haven’t you ever had your shower act up, turning from one temperature to another without warning, and without reason? “I love the sound he makes when the cold water hits him.”
Coffee can be downright sadistic. It has the ability to be hotter than you could possibly expect. “You didn’t need those taste buds did you?”
Maybe you’ve tried throwing something in the trash that won’t go. Toss, and you miss. Sometimes your aim is just fine. The wadded up paper is just saying, “I’m not going in there.” This is especially evident when, instead of just putting it in, you try throwing it again, and it still misses. Sometimes, against all odds, it will reach the target but bounce off another piece of garbage that sends it to the floor instead. Don’t argue with it. Just put it in its place. Literally.
Have you ever had a piece of clothing shrink in the laundry when nothing else did? A waistband that is suddenly tight one morning? “I think you could lose a few inches there yourself, Mister Oreo.”
Speaking of clothing, buttons can move into the wrong button holes. I don’t know how, but it happens. If you miss a button hole, then the button is not at fault. That doesn’t give it the right to make sure that it buttons up wrong on the next attempt. “You’ve got me in the wrong hole, stupid. That’s right, start over. Ha! Wrong again! You’re gonna have to do this at least once more.”
There are obvious inanimate thoughts. Like a car that won’t turn over. “Screw you, man. I already started once today.”
Bottlecaps that won’t open often mock you when you read them. “That’s right. I AM a twist off. Try it again. I dare you.”
Lightbulbs like to wait to burn out. They like to time it for that moment when you’re not prepared to deal with it. They’re some of the more perverse objects of irritation since they have to sacrifice themselves to annoy you.
Some things may actually have legitimate grievances. Like the toilet that clogs up. It’s tired of taking your crap.
Then there’s eyeglasses. That obnoxious spot that won’t be cleaned away is sometimes just a reflection of your glasses’s dark mood. “You take me for granted. Well what if I just stopped working right?”
Some of these annoyances are not exactly inanimate objects. Take, for example, the housefly that seems to be deliberately pestering you with constant divebombs to your head and face. “Ah hahahahahah! I am the Red Baron!”
Some appliances play practical jokes. Maybe you’ve wondered why that one piece of debris on your carpet stays there when you vacuum over it. Everything else comes up. Why won’t the vacuum pick up that one certain piece? “Go over it again. And there it still is. It’s like a magic trick in reverse. It won’t disappear.”
There are some solid objects that can move. Take your keys for example. Where are they? They’re hiding and giggling while you’re searching in the wrong place. “Say Marco! Come on, say it!”
Some things that can cause trouble aren’t even things. There are words and numbers that like to mess with people. If a pen won’t write, sometimes it isn’t the pen or even the ink that’s causing the trouble. It’s the word itself that doesn’t want to come out. It’s just too shy.
Some words are fairly perverse in their thrills. You’ve seen this while typing. Have you ever had to retype a word that you’ve gotten wrong, then typed it wrong again, then typed it wrong again? Just how many times can you misspell a single word? Believe it or not, that’s sometimes the word acting on a strange fetish. “Oh yeah! Delete me! Delete me! Harder! Do it again. Oooh, delete me!”
Pages in books can move. If you’ve ever lost your place, then had a hard time finding it again, that might be page playing a game with you. “Warmer, warmer, nope, colder. Colder. Warmer. Too late. I’m further than you thought now. Start again. Warmer… warmer…”
Then there’s the big things like the weather that decides to rain, in contradiction to every weather report. “Oh sorry. Did you have plans? Well, not anymore, you don’t.”
Even the weather is small compared to some of the cosmic concepts that can push you around. Time itself likes to screw up a perfectly good day. You are not beneath the notice of time. “You’re almost going to make it. Not quite. That’s right keep watching the clock. I’m going to keep you in suspense until the very last moment, and I can decide when that moment is.”
There’s an old expression. If you drop a hammer on your foot, it doesn’t do any good to get mad at the hammer. That may be so, but does it really do any good to get mad at yourself? Besides, if you can relate to enough of the perfectly timed perturbations on this list, then maybe the hammer really can be blamed.