Modern Animism

Siege Perilous * Bikeshop Rant * Modern Animism * Traveller

This entry is divided into two parts, with a little rant in the middle to tie them together. The first part is about modern Animism.(I hope my new bike has a soul) The rant in the middle is about the salesman that did not sell me the bike, and the second part is about said bike & touches on some ideas concerning Arthurian legends. Lets start with the second part first.

Siege Perilous
I just purchased a new ‘road’ bike to replace the ‘cruiser’ type bike that I have been riding for the last year or so. The old bike is fun and extremely comfortable, but very heavy and slow, a real tank. The new bike is like a jet. I got the new bike in anticipation of doing some bike touring later this summer, as well as some lunch break exercising. I’ll be riding the new bike as part of my quest to get into shape, so it seemed fitting to name it Siege Perilous, after the empty seat at King Arthur’s round table. Although the Arthurian analogy breaks down fairly fast, the name stays because it means The Perilous Seat, and my bum will soon be sore enough for the name to be apt. The original Siege Perilous is a chair that you can only sit in after you have found the Holy Grail (I seem to have misplace mine — it was here a moment ago) which only Galahad can do, and things are pretty much over when he does. That’s probably why Ikea does not carry the Siege Perilous.

Bikeshop Rant
ME: I like to buy a bike, I looked online and I want something between the Syrris and the Globe…(suddenly I came over all peckish)
Salesman: OK What did you have in mind? (Peckish, sir?)
ME: Id like to get a bike for commuting and some light touring. (Eee I were all hungry, like!)
Salesman: Did you see a bike you wanted? (Yes certainly, sir. What would you like?)
ME: I like this Vita… (Well, how about a little Red Leicester.?)
Salesman: We don’t have that in your size, plus its a GIRLS bike. (I’m, afraid we’re fresh out of Red Leicester, sir.)
ME: You guys are listed as a Specialized dealer, do you carry the Syrrus? (Any Norwegian Jarlsberger?)
Salesman: No, but I can special order it. (No)
ME: Do you have any bikes comparable to the Syrrus (You do have some cheese, do you?)
Salesman: Yes, we have the Cannondale in stock. (Certainly, sir. It’s a cheese shop, sir. We’ve got…)
ME: Great, can I try it, I brought my helmet…(Hand over le fromage de la Belle France qui s’apelle Camembert, s’il vous plaît.)
Salesman: No, we don’t have one in your size (The cat’s eaten it.)
ME: Do you carry any bikes that are comparable to the Syrrus? (Venezuelan Beaver Cheese?)
And so on. I had to drive to Chappell hill to buy my bike.

Modern Animism
Animism is the idea that plants, animals and even inanimate objects have souls or perhaps more appropriately, spirits. Animism is one of the few ideas is not only entirely at odds with both Christianity and Science, but also alive and flourishing in the modern world. Think of all the machines we interface with, machines that we control and which control us. Elevators, subways, cars, phones, and computers: all take on an existence greater than their mechanical sum. Animism seems strongest when machines have greater and more arbitrary control over us, like the one traffic light that always catches you.

Viva animism! I have decided to name my office chair: Traveller


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