It’s hard not to anthropomorphize.
My lawnmower is cranky and only likes to start if I tip it on its nose when I prime the engine. I have often described my computers as malevolent or downright evil. I’ve named every car I’ve ever owned, and have been known to plead, cajole, and beg, as if my entreaties will urge the vehicle on that one last mile to the gas station.
It’s all nonsense, of course. My conversations with inanimate objects do nothing except perhaps answer an inner echo from our pre-industrial heritage, when horses, donkeys, and oxen were our “engines,” and talking to them did make a difference.
Still, it’s hard not to anthropomorphize.
Take my car. No, not that one. Not Pepper. The other one: Eva, our “daily driver.”
Eva is a Geo Storm. She’s a hatchback. She’s 20 years old and still gets 35+mpg on the highway. She has less than 85,000 miles on her. She’s a great car, and has provided great service.
Over the decades, we’ve kept Eva in pretty good nick. Regular LOFs, new brakes when she needs them, new tires when the old ones get old. About five years ago, she needed new bearings for the front axles (not unexpected for a car her age), so she got them. She’s been hard working, uncomplaining, and trustworthy.
In 20 years, she’s only given us one bad time. We drove out to Ocean Shores in a cold, driving rain that was followed by a night of thick tule fog. The next morning we went out to start her and she refused; flat refused. We had no choice but to call the one and only auto repair shop the little town provided. I thought she got some moisture up in the distributor, but Mr. Small Town Mechanic said no, she needed a whole tune-up, complete with new ignition wires. This was patently absurd on a car that was (at the time) only ten years old and had only about 40k miles, but we were stuck, and we had it done. And she started, and we were on our way.
So, one episode in 20 years.
Until this autumn.
The night we went to pick up Pepper, Eva did something she never did before: she locked up the ignition switch and wouldn’t let me turn it for 5 full minutes.
Then, yesterday, when I took Eva to the shop for her regular LOF and general checkup, they found a coolant leak that led them to discover a breach in the head gasket.
Yes. You read that right.
When we bought home a little red sportscar, our other car blew a gasket.
Jealous? Envious? Throwing a tantrum? Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore?
Sometimes, it’s hard not to anthropomorphize.