Guardian Girl

Oliver Burkeman ponders the case of the disobedient shower

Posted in Brain & heart by guardiangirl on July 14, 2009

This was a very enlightening column, as ever. I love the idea of inanimate objects forming a stubborn household union against us, lurking around waiting to stub our toes and delete our text messages. I’ve tried nurturing anthropomorphism wisely before, for example by renaming spiders ‘velveteens’ and imagining them with cute, high-pitched voices, but it didn’t really work. However with inanimate objects it might be easier, since they provide more blank canvas on which to project. I practised OB’s advice and tried to edit my belongings a bit by shunning the things that routinely irritate me (cheap fork, awkward bag) and embracing those that work well (nice table, iPod). It makes sense. I’m keeping this in mind as a general principle and adding it to my Dad’s wisdom that you should quickly sort out any little niggling problems around the home such as loose carpet, dripping taps, ill-fitting doorframes, before you get used to them and they simply chip away invisibly at your quality of life. Imagining a flat filled with nice stuff and no leaky taps makes me feel instantly happier.

I also followed OB’s advice by cogitating on the fact that the most I know about any of my loved ones is a series of body movements and vocal sounds they’ve made throughout the time I’ve known them. This made me think of chimps, which made me laugh, but once I moved on from the chimp thoughts I felt sad and lonely, so I thought about something else instead.


  • Simple and true: surrounding yourself with nice, just-right objects makes life so much better
  • Chimps are cheery, while solipsism, even mild solipsism – if there can be such a thing – is saddening

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