Ordinary Object #10: When Buying an Object Isn't Enough
That's when some of us will want to become objects. What follows is a draft.
“This was when the object revolution occurred: Parents thought kids ran away from home, but their bodies were safe, sound, and comatose in their rooms. They were still there, of course, just as objects. Some were quiet, and stayed within close reach of their families. You could tell, sometimes, by the brisk touch of a coffee mug that wouldn’t otherwise have reached out for your nose. It was strange, but not as strange as when the objects started forming groups of their own: gangs, at first, and then eventually, entire cities. Humans left their bodies for the lives of objects. Maybe it was like a drug, at first, being able to become a computer-phone for a moment, but then, there were some who sought solace in this fuller understanding of the world around us. How nice to be outside of your own head!”
—Said an old man to his grandchild. Maybe in front of a fireplace. That sounds cozy and terribly cinematic, to hear the crackling of fire and imagine the smell of ash and wood. Indoors, the idea of the woods closes in around the boy, curled up under a felt blanket, looking like a sleepy shepherd. And if he’s drinking hot cocoa, this movie will be a winner.
It was dark and cold, and Nora was scared. The wind froze her hands and face. For the last two blocks, she was sure the trash can across the street was following her. Just keeping pace about half a block behind and no one else was around. She had maybe 10 more minutes left to get home, but until then, her heart pumped too quickly, like a … who knows?
She looked back and the trash can was gone. That didn’t stop her from her 10 minute walk home, although she wanted to see what the trash can had turned into. A light pole? A rock? A BMW? For all she knew, he/it/trashthing was still behind her, walking along, but no longer walking. He could be spying on her through the mounds of filth, glaring down on her as a bulb, or staring blankly as a rock.
It’s hard to arrest a rock for a crime, but that’s where all the missing persons reports came in; everyone wanted to be an object, at least for a little while. That was the new escape.
By the time she got home, awkwardly opened her lock which usually stuck when she pushed her card through the slot, all she wanted to do was sit still with her hands up to the radiator. Her roommate, Ryan was home. He grunted behind his door when she walked in. That’s what he always does, grunts, even though it’s supposed to be a “hello.” She rarely sees him.
“Hey, Ryan? Are you good-night-ing?” Nora asked, going through the motions.
“Goodnight, to you, too. Are you working in the morning?”
“Just the same old. So. Yes.”
Nora did not like talking about her job. If she was critical, and she was, she didn’t want other people to think she hated objects. She didn’t hate objects just because she was trying to solve object crimes. Mostly, she liked object kidnappings, and trying to get people out of objects. All that made her sound conservative, maybe. She didn’t know why she wanted to stop people from being the objects they wanted to be.
Ryan opened his door, and it creaked: “The gorilla is on.”
Then Nora saw the new gorilla show everyone was into. A furry black shape, what could’ve been a bodybuilder covered in layers of fur and face paint, if she didn’t know any better. The set looked like a teenager had made it in his spare time. Sat like a stoic in the middle of cage. His blank eight-ball eyes glared back at them. So big with white glares; the camera lighting reflected on his pupils. They looked like white water pooling inside his eyes.
Supposedly, this gorilla was gone; he had turned into an object, but had kept his gorilla body intact. That was phase one of the animal-object division, and now we could watch all this at any time of the day. We were watching an empty animal and he was now, well, it depends on the media reports, a blue sofa, a kid’s iPhone, or a set of rechargeable batteries. We were watching ourselves in the gorilla. A morality play on not becoming an object, thanks to government TV. But it was better than Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
"That creeps me out,” said Nora. “I never want to do that.”
“But you deal with these types all the time.”
“They’re okay and they’re interesting,” she replied, “but I guess know better.”
Maybe the gorilla was still in there, and this was all just a scam? Nora didn’t tell Ryan that. She just went into the bathroom, brushed her teeth, and got ready for bed. She was warm.
Ordinary Objects is an informative newsletter about things. Specifically, it's about one object Corinna Kirsch bought this week. Thanks for reading.