Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Object Lesson

My personification of inanimate objects, and the emotions I then feel toward those objects, takes up more of my energy than it should. When I was a kid, I felt terribly sorry for boardgames that got left on the shelf, often for years at a time. I would play them by myself just so they didn't think I was angry at them.

As a teenager, I named my car, my TV, an my baseball bat. These were pleading, loving relationships, all of which involved soft caresses. My biggest fight, though, was with that television, which still stares at me now, ten years after I bought it. I've even placed him on probation for months at a time, canceling cable as a punishment for his blizzards. And yet, as Homer Simpson put it, the TV remains "my teacher, mother, secret lover."

Lately, I've directed most of my personal scorn at kitchen wares. As a newlywed, I have a glut of pots, and I rail against their pot-lids the way cranks rail against immigrants. I doubt their usefulness, mutter to myself about how much space they take up, grumble about their clamorous, pot-lid culture.

In a pinch, Luigi--the saucepot topper--does make my life easier with his abilities and I smile at his panache. He's one of the good ones, that Luigi.

With these mild frustrations in mind, I was surprised last night that I couldn't muster any anger at my vegetable peeler. Even after he swallowed a cashew-sized swath of my left middle finger, I felt no animosity whatsoever. As a sat in my recliner, Donald--wrapped in gauze and ice and with my arm over my head--I was at peace.

"I put your nemesis in the dishrack," Megan said. "So be careful."

"No," I corrected, like a holy man forgiving his assailant. "He knew not what he did."

Maybe it's the Christmas season that has me in a merciful mood, but I even felt positive feelings for Virgil, as I like to call him.

This strange favoring of something that cuts recalled certain relationships in which I've actually liked people more after they've slighted me. They've shown their fallibility and, maybe more importantly, they now owe me.

So, in some illogical reach of my brain, I expect to return from my Christmas vacation to a bounty of freshly peeled food, to Virgil standing on the counter looking sheepishly at me. He'll hope that, once again, we can be peel pals, and I'll say, "I'd like that, friend."

And I'll be thankful for the time he's saved me; I'll finally have a chance to give that sonuvabitch can-opener of mine a real talking-to.


Emily said...

I'm going to be thinking of some ways to slight you, so that we can be better friends.

Jayme said...

I feel the same way about all those unread books in the library. I feel sorry for them. I always check the library due date slip to see if the books I am reading are popular or not. Most of them have only been read once...in 1996.