Friday, October 28, 2016

Aquarium Tails...

I know I promised to write about our trip to Panama, but that will be for another day.  Why?  Because I procrastinated too long and now, under the gun, I must select something that is already in a draft stage, waiting to be published and flung out onto the internet.

But I am going to give you a break from cat stories, and Steve's gastrointestinal episodes, and bring you up to date on what it's like to be a fish, living in our aquarium. 

I'm afraid it is not good news.  Our aquarium is really the equivalent of an assisted living home for fish; a brief holding tank for those who are about to depart on their next spiritual journey.  Just like Jonathon Livingston Seagull, who if he were still around, would probably speed things up by eating the fish and putting them out of their misery.

For instance, when our new 'residents' move into "Fish Manor Senior Care Living Center" they appear to have it pretty much altogether, happy to be in their new apartment.  Alas, within a few months, if not weeks, the "failure to thrive" syndrome starts setting in.  Cloudy eyes, speckles on their cataracts and age spots.  Soon they start swimming erratically, slowly sinking towards the bottom, spurred on occasionally by a second wind that launches them to the top of the tank.  And then slowly, they start sinking again, drifting aimlessly around as if they can't remember which hallway to go down to find their room.  Some days they eat voraciously and we can tell they're ready for their meal hours before the 'dining room' opens.  Other times they act indifferently towards their food, and if they had opposable thumbs and could use silverware I'm guessing they would just push it around on their plate to make it look as if they had eaten something, or hide the green peas under the banana skin.  Oh wait, that was me.  Sorry, forgot whose story I was telling.

Having our aquarium is like watching a death spiral in action.  Not too long ago, our shrimp named Scampi committed suicide by jumping out of the water and onto the floor.  He obviously preferred a quick death by cat paw as opposed to the gradual decline like we've become accustomed to with the others.  And the black, red-tailed shark has Ich.  Come to find out we're supposed to personally treat him by giving him a saltwater bath. Using those tiny little loofah sponges is a bitch I tell you!  I guess we are supposed to apply a special product to their fin and then bathe them, or something like that.  And by 'we', I mean 'Steve'.  Actually I wasn't really listening to how we (Steve) were supposed to treat him as it had fallen into the category of topics like discussing a new vehicle, or what kind of transformer we're getting for the outdoor lights.  You know, the kind of conversation like a tree falling in the forest - if no one is listening is anything actually being said?

Some days we leave in the morning and all is well, only to return at night to find skeletal remains drifting around which is always so startling.  What was the difference between one day with all of the little fish being happy and zippy, to the sudden turning of the tables where it was decided that one of them looked so delicious he had to be devoured right then and there?  

Just this morning as Steve was walking past the aquarium on his way to make coffee I heard "awww, dammit.  I cannot believe it" with a certain, sad tone to it.  The cabinet opened and a few things clanged and banged around.  Then the top of the fish tank creaked open, followed by trot, trot, trot to the bathroom and the ceremonial flush down the toilet.   Our largest fish, Arabrab (my mom Barbara's name, spelled backwards) had met her demise during the night and would now be joining Puff Daddy (our now dead green puffer), Micky, Spot, Sunny, Barb, Green Barb, Ra, and Plato.  And those are just the names I remember.

Sometimes it strikes me that part of the problem is that the aquarium is located in the dining room and we are often eating grilled fish while watching them swim around.   I think somehow they sense that and decide to take control of their own lives, or death as it appears. 

Might be best if I go back to writing about Steve and the cats.  Feline vomit and husband stories are much more uplifting, don't you think?!


No comments:

Post a Comment