“Oops, sorry…” I mutter to the ottoman I just stumbled over. The other people in the room glance at me as if I’m nuts, but that’s okay. I may be slightly off, but I’ve just as often wondered why other people don’t apologize to objects that they trip over, bump into, or knock about.
I mean, we’re all made from the same stuff, aren’t we? From what I’ve read, the chair we’re sitting on and the computer we’re using to write this post all share the same basic components as us , we’re just structured differently. So, why do we suppose that the objects we label inanimate don’t feel or think?
I grew up watching TV shows such as “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Bewitched”, which showed people constantly being turned into objects (chairs, bed warmers, pin cushions, and pillows). And let us not forget the show “My Mother the Car” or the KIT car from “Knight Rider”, they were very human-like in their interactions.
And lest you think I watched too much TV as a kid, there were (and are) books of fantasy and SciFi with robots and androids whose feelings are as acute as any human’s, cups and saucers that hold their own tea parties, toys that come to life when people aren’t around to see, and beds that fly.
So, who’s to say that the ottoman I apologized to didn’t appreciate the recognition and consideration I showed it? And if I hadn’t apologized, would that same ottoman have wandered over into my path again, perhaps with a more malicious intent?
And what does it cost, really, to offer an apology to a chair, ottoman, shoe, or other object when we bump into it, trip over it, or knock it over because we’re not paying attention to our surroundings? Perhaps if enough of us took the time to be more gracious to our things, we might find ourselves extending those same courtesies to each other, too. Now wouldn’t that be a more pleasant world to live in?