It's all fun and games until someone feels bad for an inanimate object

I once bought a cheap bicycle. I had to take it back for repairs roughly once a month: the gears disconnected, the chain fell off at random intervals, and so did a pedal. Once, the front tyre split open like an overripe peach. The back wheel refused to sit on straight. The bicycle light dynamo wouldn't dynamo. It was, in short, a shit bike. Somehow, though, I developed a relationship to it. It probably started with me naming it - as we know, names have tremendous power. It was clunky and black with white markings, so I started calling it the Cow. It was a very loyal cow. It limped, it lost parts, but it really tried its asthmatic best. When I came back from San Diego last year, the Cow lay in the bicycle cellar without a front wheel (I had forgotten to secure it. People like stealing front wheels in this town). My immediate reaction wasn't to be pissed off, but to be horribly sorry for the mutilated little Cow. Took it to the bike shop, but it turned out that I couldn't afford a new wheel, at least not to keep this piece of junk alive. The Cow had to go live on a farm.

I ended up getting a used bike instead, one of higher quality. It's slender-necked and bright yellow, and makes no sound as it glides down the street. It earned the name Giraffe in about a week. And it's a master of guilt trips. Whenever I leave it out in the rain, I keep seeing these heart-wrenching images of a bedraggled giraffe chained to the bike stand, its huge wet eyes fixed hopefully on the front door. I had to take it to the bike shop to replace a couple of spokes the other day, and suddenly wasn't riding a bike but a giraffe with an odd stagger. Taking it back from the shop, I was riding a giraffe with one of its legs in a mitella (even more awkward than when it was just injured). It scowled at me, probably wishing I'd give it a break and just push it home.

I'm not sure how this will end. Probably not well. I'm starting to feel increasingly guilty about the piggy bank in which we keep our household cash.