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spare blue urban bedroom

Writer's Block: Anthropomorphic buddies

Have you ever named or befriended an inanimate object? What did you call it?


Yes, I do this all the time -- but usually separately. I really only started naming things after I read about it on the internet, I think. Somewhere or another I learned of someone who gave their computer or somesuch a really cool name -- yeah, I don't remember the details -- and I thought it'd be fun if I gave my things vaguely witty names too. I named my laptop The Dread Pirate Roberts when I first got it, not as an intentional Princess Bride reference but because someone suggested it and I thought it sounded awesome. I've never seen the movie; I read and loved the book, but that was a very long time ago. When I realized it was a Princess Bride references, I thought it was that much cooler. And that I was that much lamer.

Late last year, I acquired a new iPod and a new USB key. They both have purple exteriors. When loading my iPod for the first time, my computer asked me to name my iPod, and I wanted a name related to purple, so I thought "Aubrey" because of "aubergine." And then because I think "Aubrey" is very rarely used, vaguely aristocratic name, I decided to call it "Aubrey Flyte, Esq." after the Flyte family in Brideshead Revisited. I sort of added on the Esq for no reason. It probably doesn't fit. I don't really know what it means. Anyway, then when I first used my USB key, I decided to name it "Aurora Flyte" because I thought it was nice matching name. When I told my roommate about this she said, "Eww, are they married?" And I, horrified, said, "No! They're siblings! Or cousins. Jeez, I'm not like that." Because really...that's ridiculous.

But even though I've thus named my most used pieces of technology (ugh, what a phrase, way to sound like a luddite...), I wouldn't say I've befriended my objects. I never think or talk of them by name. I may sometimes anthropomorphize them in that I talk to them and in what I say, like, "Come on, please work, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you, really," if things are going badly. Actually, usually my one-way conversation sounds more like, "Come on, work, fucker!" but this is when things are functioning fine, if a little slowly. But...I wouldn't say I've befriended them.

And in general I don't tend to name things. Even when I was little, I didn't name my toys. I gave my favourite doll and teddy bear names years and years after I first got them -- as in, in my early-mid teens rather than as a toddler. I named the doll -- who is fairly large, and used to walk and sing but I busted her leg and she doesn't have batteries -- "Aina," which means "mirror" in another language, because I thought it sounded pretty. I've totally forgotten what I named the teddy bear, I'll have to ask my sister. "Mr." something. Possibly "Mr. Bear." Err, yeah.

Although I don't generally think of my things in anthropomorphic terms, I do get very attached. If I lose something, I fret about it and yearn for it and imagine it lying somewhere, abandoned and exposed to the elements. Sometimes in these kinds of cases my mental narrative does get a little anthropomorphic, in that I hate that it might feel abandoned. But that's about it.

Dude, what a fun prompt. Best one I've seen yet.

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