De-Anthropomorphising SophieThursday, September 09, 2010
When I look at our present cats, Casa (Rosemary’s 18 pounder male cat) and Plata my lithe and very beautiful snow-leopardish female cat I impute upon them my ideas of masculinity and femininity. Since Plata is a female, everything that she does must somehow be similar to the attributes of the women I know. Is she loving? Is she fickle? Is she possessive?
It was in 1986 that we purchased our first Audi. It was an Audi 5000 which had the reputation of being most independent to the point that it would go places even if you chose it not to. In all the years that we had (Her? Him? It?), the Audi never went anywhere unless we stepped on the gas pedal. And the Audi always stopped when stepped on the brakes. This entity of mechanical bits and pieces, of hydraulics and of electrical parts was obedient. Surely that had to be an almost human attribute.
On the Audi’s (notice how I am avoiding that it) last day, some 8 years later its transmission gave out on Cambie and 6th Avenue. I pondered what to do. Then I discovered that (and I must reveal here that Rosemary called her Audi Sophie) Sophie could still move in reverse. I gingerly maneuvered Sophie back to our home near 41st and Granville, through back alleys and the loneliest roads I could find, in reverse. It seemed that even on her (and Sophie was most definitely a she) last day she performed her obligation of getting me home.
Since Sophie I, Rosemary has leased Sophie II, Sophie III and finally Sophie IV. Sophie IV will not be ours anymore on September 16. Rosemary is sad. I am not. I will explain.
This morning I told Rosemary how we had anthropomorphized our Audi A-4 into Sophie and given her the characteristics of a woman. I tried to explain that to diminish the pain I had been consciously (and perhaps unconsciously, too) de-anthropmophising her. I have been actively detaching myself from any connections to the car. I have been thinking, “I must remove all six CDs from the CD player, not because I might forget in the end, but more like by removing the CDs from Sophie, Sophie will become less us, less human. Parting will not be as heart wrenching. In the past Sophie II was instantly replaced by Sophie III. The queen is dead! Long live the Queen!
Sophie will be replaced by one of two cars. I can see Rosemary already putting a personality on one of them. It is the Chevrolet Malibu Maxx. The other, the Chevrolet Malibu sedan must be (if logic is used) our choice. It comes with a two-year factory power train warranty and its large lockable and independent trunk is a must if I am to persist in my photographic pursuits. But Rosemary is anthropomorphizing the Maxx (with a name like Maxx can you not?) and who knows what car will soon be parked on our front door?