Friday, 30 March 2012

Anthropomorphism

Although it’s a nice word to type, a good way to while away a few minutes acclimatising to the dimensions and touch of a new keyboard, it’s not exactly the one I want.  I have a blackbird in my garden who – there you are, if I wasn’t anthropomorphising the bird I’d have written ‘which’ – who is without doubt a person, not a thing.  I know this, because we have a relationship, which I won’t expand on but which has to do with my duties as to the stocking of the food table.  Soon, I’ll explain that it’s summer now and you and your lot are on your own, and he’ll understand.

No, this is about inanimate objects, and in particular their gender.  I’ve been telling everyone about my new computer, and today a friend asked me whether it was a he or a she.  I can’t think of the word for sexing a machine – can you? – and I haven’t turned it (him? her?) upside down yet, so I have no idea.  Nor have behavioural idiosyncrasies  had a chance to surface, thank goodness.  It’s it for now.

But, of course, it got me thinking about cars.  Come on, we all sex our cars, don’t we?  Just a few:

My blue XR2 Fiesta was obviously called Fiona.  She was like Lisbeth Salander.  Then came the Renault 19 16v.  Sleek, white, coy (she would hide her speedometer from her passenger).  Her name was Swift.  Felix came next – a bit brash, brave but insecure, Mondeosexual. 

My present car and I have no personal relationship.  We give each other orders or suggestions, which are followed, acknowledged or rejected, with mutual respect.  It’s efficiently functional.  Teutonic hermaphrodite.  But I do sometimes hanker after an 850cc side valve Morris Minor girl.


6 comments :

  1. I had to break up a serious fight between our two girl blackbirds yesterday - one had serious hen-pecked head injuries.
    Has your laptop got an SD slot or a dongle?

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  2. I have never given a car a name, I'm afraid, but then I'm terribly unimaginative. We've still got a couple of Morris Minors, though.

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  3. I don't really go in for naming inanimate objects but my first car was a VW Golf which I called Arnie after Arnold Palmer and it stuck for the whole time I had it (the name, not the car...)

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  4. Rog - it has both. And the dongle is removable, but doesn't fit in the SD slot. I have now stopped thinking about this.

    It wasn't actually me who did the car-naming; but they do have personalities.

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  5. I'm with Zoe, I've never personalised the car enough to name it. I've enough trouble remembering the names of random humans I meet...

    And can you believe there was a time when I didn't know what a dongle was???
    No me neither. But there you go...

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  6. The first car I drove after passing my driving test was a Morris Minor convertible, called Freddie. As I set off down the hill outside our flat, his roof rose gently up behind me and converted itself into a kind of sail. Sneaky kind of car I thought.

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