We hear words, but we think in images – a Boeing aircraft example.
When I’m facilitating a retreat for a community I often conduct a little exercise that begins with the question, “If your city was a person, what would it be like?” It’s a way of demonstrating that inanimate things have human characteristics in the eye of the beholder. Here’s a good example of how someone describes various Boeing aircraft as if they were people:
Meet the Boeing family of wide body jetliners 787: She is drop-dead gorgeous, she has all the “right” friends, and all the boys want to date her. She loves spending time at the spa, and she is addicted to social media. Predictably, she is a drama queen. Every little problem gets blown out of proportion, resulting in tears and tantrums. She has an attitude of entitlement, believing that everyone exists to serve her needs and desires.
767: He isn’t terribly smart, or good-looking, or popular, or talented. He is a little clumsy and socially awkward. Though he is a diligent and reliable worker, his only real option for the future is to go into the military, because frankly he has little prospect of finding employment in the private sector. But bless his heart, we love and adore him.
777: He’s the family overachiever. Eagle Scout, 4.0 average, captain of the football team, scholarship offers flowing in, a gorgeous and smart girl friend. He wonders to himself how he could possibly be related to this cast of characters, and secretly wishes he weren’t.
747: Quiet and studious, she tends to keep to herself. She’s a bit heavy and has a touch of asthma. She seems wise beyond her years, and is burdened by an unspoken sadness. Yet she is unfailingly loyal and will go to the wall for you. Others would do the same for her in an instant.