June 08, 2008

El Poco Grande

There are some people out there - and you may very well be one of them - that have a tendency to give names to inanimate objects. Honestly, it's not something I've ever done, but I can understand why it happens.

As humans, when we love something it is in our nature to really want it to love us back. Unfortunately, for inanimate objects, it is in their nature to not really do anything at all. Inanimate objects have a tough time showing us love, mostly because their inanimate. Aside from a scary forest in the Wizard of Oz and a few other randomly documented instances, inanimate objects pretty much remain inanimate, just like they're supposed to.

Naming an inanimate object is a way for us humans to feel good about ourselves. It's about falling in love with an object that really doesn't have the ability to appreciate you or love you or tickle your toes when you're sleeping. And it's about giving personality and humanism to that which has none.

I have quite a few friends who have named their cars. One of my closest friends has been naming his cars since high school. Fat Amy was his latest baby. She's one of those old Land Rover's or something of the sort that was built in the 70s or 80s. She's not really that fat so I'm not quite sure where the adjective part of the name came from. She definitely looks like an Amy, if that matters at all. Fat Amy fell on some tough times over the past few years and had to be sold. I try not to bring her up in conversations. I don't like making grown men cry.

According to folklore, certain men apparently give names to their private parts - assuming these can be considered inanimate objects. I was never one of those people and, frankly, I'm not even going to get into this conversation because wherever it goes, it's gonna end up in a very bad place.

Apparently many people decide to name their bicycles. Once again, I'm not one of those people but my girlfriend is. Yes, Catherine named her bike immediately after she bought it.

You can't have a bike without a name! she said to me as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

You can't? I responded dumbfoundedly.

No, you can't, she said. And that seemed to be the end of that conversation.

Since naming is a way to humanize an inanimate object, most people usually select human-like names for their bikes and cars and so forth. Things like Eleanor and Herbert and LaQuisha. As for my Catherine, she decided to name her bike "El Poco Grande".

Granted, Catherine has always had a little thing for Latino men and that may explain why she's given her bike the name of a Mexican midget wrestler. Still, it seems kinda odd.

El Poco Grande.

Technically, it means The Little Big. It can also mean "The Little Great One". I suppose if you're a fan of 70s bands, it may translate to "The Great Poco", though I'm not sure that Catherine is a big enough classic rock aficionado to go down that road, and if she did I'd reckon she'd opt for something more fitting for a bicycle, like Pink Floyd. All this said, I can only assume that her original intention was to name the bike "the little great one".

Catherine stands at about 5 foot 4 inches (on a good day. In heels. Standing on a staircase.) Needless to say, El Poco Grande is very much on the "poco" side of things. He kinda resembles a clown bike in his miniscule size. I'm always amazed when I pick him up - he's so small and light that I can't help but envision a wee little gerbil pedaling around in circles on this thing. Apparently, though, the bike packs quite a wallop, which probably explains why I have a tough time keeping up with Catherine when we're riding at full speed. I reckon that's where the "grande" part of the name comes into play.

Catherine loves her Poco Grande like nobody's business. It's not uncommon for her to spend hours cleaning the frame, scrubbing the chain and shiny-ing the parts that apparently need to be shiny-er. Every once in awhile I look over at her and she's just sitting there ogling over the bike with a healthy loving glow on her face. I'd be a liar if I said I didn't feel jealous.

I once heard somebody ask her why she gave the bike a masculine name.

If I'm going to have something between my legs for that long, she said. It sure better be a man.

Which suddenly gets me thinking that perhaps the name El Poco Grande has another meaning. One that I haven't fully considered. But I already told myself I wouldn't go down that path...


KodaFit said...

Could this be the reason that you and your bike aren't doing as well together? ie. You treat her like an inanimate object...

I'm facing a related problem though... Feeling peer pressure to name my bike, but then wondering if I'll forever hate the name I give her if things go awry in our relationship... She is definitely a female though - No guy has lines that sleek and sexy!

Anonymous said...

my little trek's name is astinos. after one of the spartans in the 300 movie... being female, my bike had to be a guy. so i understand catherine from that perspective.
...ive been known to talk to astinos too. fortunately i can report he's yet to respond =)

TriGirl Kate O said...

I'm with Cat on the whole "it's gotta be a man" front, but I still haven't named my bike. Maybe because I'm still on the fence on whether or not he's truly the one for me....He is quite a good looking hunk o' carbon though!

Tony said...

I, too, was told that I "must" name my bike - as if it was the most natural thing in the world. The first name that popped into my head was "Torture Chamber" - no, it's not an anthropomorphization name, it's a description and apt one if I do say so myself. When required in polite conversation I refer to the bike as TC to let people think that I've drunk the Kool-Aid and given a personality to the machine. Being a guy, and an abysmally slow biker, anything that's between MY legs for that long is just torture!

Cat said...

trigirl kate o,

truth be told ... i'm not sure i picked the right steed either. and double-truth be told ... i've never named a bike before. perhaps my waffling is what drove me to name him ... a bonding thing, ya know?

which leads us back to j's orginal point about anthropomorphizing ... sigh!


Robin said...

I have to admit, I've never really understood the whole bike naming thing. I love my bike as much as the next person, probably more, much more. But it doesn't have a name, or a gender. Though my daughter did insist for awhile on giving all of our bikes horse names like "Hiho Silver" and "Big Blue", but I think that's more related to her horse obsession than to any real need to anthropomorphize inanimate objects. So my bike is still my nameless but much beloved steed.