I watched: an empty milk jug come rolling down the street during the particular windiness of last Tuesday morning. It was really making a break for it, this jug, clomp-clomping over gravel and grass in a protracted roll down dusty 16th Street, St. Helens, in the direction, strangely, of the recycling center.
It got me thinking about what it would be like if all of our stuff banded together and staged a revolt. Like, a revolution of Things.
Can you imagine? Televisions ripping free from outlets and hurtling themselves through open windows, shopping carts full of groceries tearing out of every parking lot into the clog of rush hour traffic, dinner plates floating up off the kitchen table and smashing into the walls at full Kamikaze tilt. Your favorite pair of pants escaping the recesses of your overstuffed closet and racing out the front door at a steady gallop. Lemonade pitchers overturning and spitting out their contents. Or maybe it gets more sinister: a gooseneck lamp reaching down to strangle you as you slumber, a pair of pruning shears springing to life and coming straight at your nose as you muck about in the garden some careless Sunday. Bedclothes slithering out of reach, radiators belching angry insults, toilet seats chomping down on the netherbits of still-sleepy bathroomgoers.
Really, the inanimate contingent of our existence is pretty startlingly massive: 99.9999% of the things we brush up against in the course of daily life are asleep, artless by design, void of any kind of dynamism. We use them, abuse them, or merely step around them on our busy way elsewhere, and they never recoil or refuse. But if they could, I’m just saying, wouldn’t that be weird?