How fitting I received a call this past week from a 20 year old customer - or rather, her BBB she is quite sure is over 20 years old - well almost. The corners are wearing a bit thin, she says. This does happen over time, I said, suggesting a day at the BBB spa to rejuvenate her favourite tote.! Could she come too, she added? Even so the customer is very pleased with how her bag has stood the test of time. As is most often the case with all our customers, the recurring story is of being asked the question by a curious onlooker and often total stranger: What is it? What are you carrying? Is it paper? Where did you get that bag?
I remember, my nephew, Orion - yes, like the constellation, the great hunter - at the confident age of 4, upon being introduced to my boyfriend, looked him square in the eye and asked: Where ya from? And what's your Mother? Pronominal confusion aside, giving life-like characteristics to inanimate things or vice versa, as in Orion's case, is the hook that captures our imagination in all good storytelling. Add a dash of personification, I say.
My brief stint as a Classics major taught me that nouns have gender. So too in French, and in English the vestigial carryover would be referring to a boat as a she. Please refer to your BBB however you choose: she, her, your it bag , that bag, your old chestnut .... Sir Terence Conran referred to his as a "truly robust workhorse". We have received some very funny and interesting tales this month. Look forward to reading more and leaving the January blahs behind.