The bike I left in Ontario, I named “Pixie Lee”. She is now leaning against a cold concrete wall in a friend’s home in Kingston. May the force be with her. May she be ridden again.
I got the name Pixie Lee from my ‘Familiar’. That’s how Sue referred to our little black cat, Spooky, who seemed to be able to read my mind and I hers. At the time, I was trying to think of what to call my Ontario bike, but was coming up with some crummy names. One day, as I was leaving to go for a bike ride, Spooky, who always liked to meow at me, and who was sitting on top of her favourite perch, our kitchen’s garbage pail wash water container, meowed as I left. In the meow I heard her telepathic suggestion, “Name your bike ‘Pixie Lee’.” The name stuck so I kept it. May Spooky rest in peace.
I bought Clarence on a whim and prayer and drove him home through two thousand kilometres plus of blizzards and ice. Therefore the name “Clarence”, taken from the classic Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
I bought Basque the time we were in Cape Breton and needed to return to Ontario one winter, and drove him through a hell of a winter storm. I had a broken foot and couldn’t use Clarence’s clutch pedal. Sue, at the time, had a severe concussion and Clarence, who hated tobacco smoke, had arrhythmia or some other kind of heart/motor/electrical problem. I had to trade him in for Basque. I think he understood. He presently sits in a field in the back of a car lot sharing the space with hundreds of other abandoned vehicles. I wonder how many have personal names?
I name my machines to counteract this labelling by going the other way. Giving machines human names. As though I’m using language flea spray. Repelling these, ‘as we move forward, consumer, indexed, money crunching word bugs’.
I hoist my swear finger above my head. My pinky wiggling and jabbing at those who treat humans like machines. Who do it without blinking an eye or showing shame or guilt.
A wise man once said, “As a man thinks, so he is.”
George Orwell wrote that language can be used to shape human thinking. And it’s an excellent way for tyrants to make us see ourselves as cogs in a massive complex system, way too mysterious and complicated for our little spark plugs and computer chips to comprehend.
And if we think of ourselves as consumers, capital and resources, then how much respect are we going to show to other humans? What are the odds for the plants, animals and birds? How can they withstand words and phrases which are repeated and repeated and repeated to thicken and blacken the ledger books and hearts of those with the infinitely deep pockets?
Freidrich von Hayek
“It does not require many words to speak the truth.”
Chief Joseph Nez Perce
“Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children.”