What would I be…

Today I got my weekly email from plinky.com, giving me the past week’s worth of Plinky prompts. Today’s was “If you were an inanimate object, what would you be and why?”

What a strange question, I thought. Do they mean “If you were an inanimate object, what would you like to be and why?” I don’t think I’d like to be an inanimate object – though if I were I wouldn’t have any likes or dislikes so it wouldn’t really matter – but at least I could think of some ideas to answer that question.

The way it is worded, though, it seems to be asking, considering the kind of person you are, what kind of inanimate object would that kind of person be? Except that everything that makes you the person you are, or me the person I am, is a characteristic of living beings, not inanimate objects. It’s like asking, “If you weren’t you what would you be?” There are lots of possible answers, but none of them are very meaningful.

I promptly put it out of my mind and got to more interesting things, like Facebook. And dinner. Then, as I was walking the dog after dinner, I was thinking about how I have always been so much better at written communication than talking with someone. Given enough time to think before I answer, I can express myself pretty well. But when I have to think of an answer on the spot, I can barely think of an answer, let alone explain it well. I’m definitely more a slow cooker than a microwave, I told myself.

Aha! That’s what kind of inanimate object I might be. And a perfect example of how long it takes me to come up with an answer to a question (probably an hour from when I read the Plinky prompt until I thought of that).

I wasn’t so sure I really felt like a slow cooker, though. I know there are all sorts of dishes one can cook in a slow cooker, but I use mine primarily for some mixture of meat and vegetables. Not necessarily a stew, but not all that much different from one either. All the flavors get blended together, and everything is very tender. There’s not much individuality to the contents of a stew, nothing that really stands out from the rest of the dish.

I’d like to think that some of my ideas, at least, stand out just a bit. And while I do prefer to express myself in ways that are gently persuasive rather than hard-hitting, I would hope that occasionally something I say would bring someone up short and make them think about things they find somewhat uncomfortable to have to think about.

So if not a slow cooker, then what? A dictionary? I do like to use words properly and make sure ideas are well-defined. After all, my first reaction to the Plinky prompt was to try to decide what it really meant. But the idea of being a dictionary… it seems so dry and boring. Who really wants to read a dictionary? (I know, some people do. But they’re not exactly normal typical.)

Of course, that’s getting back to the idea of what sort of object would I want to be instead of what sort of object would I be. I decided to go to plinky.com to see what sort of answer other people gave.

Nearly all of them are along the lines of what would you want to be. Several people would like to be books, because of the pleasure books give people. Or a light, to show people the way. Nearly all the ideas were something beautiful, or useful, or associated in some way with pleasant experiences. (One person did say a dictionary, because people always ask her how to spell words.)

So if I tried to answer the question that way, what would I like to be? As a book was clearly not an original answer, I tried to think of something else. Definitely not a car (as someone said, because you can go fast and go where you want) – I find no thrill in speed. And I like it quiet.

I would want to contribute to learning. I call this blog “Perennial Student” not just because I always want to be learning, but to share my love of learning and the things I learn with others. Finally I came up with an idea I was happy with, and Plinky even helped me find a good picture to illustrate it. Rather than repeat it within this post, I’m using Plinky’s feature to send it to my blog.

So… if you were an inanimate object, what would you [like to] be?

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