Let me start out by saying I’m allergic to fish and shellfish, therefore I have no awkward carnivore dilemma when it comes to my incredible, bottomless ocean love of all things fishy. #FishAreFriends #NotFood
When I was a kiddo, all I wanted was to be a dolphin trainer.
The National Aquarium, inconveniently located in Baltimore, Maryland, not anywhere near anything else National-y named, was my favorite place on Earth because of one special reason.
A baby bottlenose dolphin named Chesapeake.
Chesapeake was the first dolphin born at the aquarium, and in 1992, that was a big deal. I was 3, and I promptly adopted her as mine.
Every chance I got, I was planted in the National Aquarium’s auditorium for the dolphin show. Back in the 90s, it was an actual show- the dolphins did tricks, the penultimate being a mind-blowing leap by one to touch its nose to a bright red ball hanging from the ceiling. A very, very high ceiling. It was magnificent. I would go home and spend all night reenacting the show with my own stuffed dolphin pod.
Of course, now we know that captivity is not the best option for our dolphin friends, and the National Aquarium is working on relocating my dolphin, I mean, Chesapeake (and company), to a sanctuary in Florida. I am devastated, but you know, trying to be happy for her.
Dolphins or no dolphins, a trip to the aquarium remains my quickest route to Zen.
Maybe it’s a Pisces thing.
I have an aquarium bucket list. So far I’ve been to 2 out of 3 Ripley’s Aquariums (Gaitlinberg and Myrtle Beach. I’m coming for you, Toronto). Someday, I will shell out and have a sleepover party in one of their famous tunnels. I have seen the mermaid show at Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida, and was overcome with awe and jealousy. I’ve had deep telepathic conversations with some seriously mellow manatees, also in Florida. The #1 thing on my list is to swim with beluga whales. I’m pretty sure my mind will explode when I do so.
Whenever I have something really unfortunate happen Chronic-wise, I have a habit of getting myself a present to cheer myself up. I didn’t even realize it, but quite a number of these cheer-up presents have been fish/aquarium/ocean related. For instance, when Johns Hopkins wasted an entire day of my life making me wait umpteen hours to see a “specialist” whose great and powerful Oz contribution to my life was to say, “Has anyone ever told you that you should be drinking more Gatorade? Because if you still don’t feel well, you should just drink more.” I came home with this guy, acquired from the gift shop. His funny fishy face made me forget the jerk upstairs.
Last week, a tendon cyst from hell interrupted my life, and my initial reaction was to self-soothe with some crafting and fishy fabric. I also got to use up all the JoAnn Fabrics coupons I have been hoarding. #Score
Please do not get me started on my love of Finding Nemo et. al. I will only say that Finding Dory was everything I could ever ask for in an animated movie, and that Pixar created what I never knew I needed in real life until I saw it on-screen: A fish rehabilitation hospital narrated by the one, the only, Sigourney Weaver.
True confession: Soda came out of my nose at that part as I was not expecting it and was totally thrilled and laughing so hard, and had, coincidentally, just taken a giant gulp of my Coca-Cola. Also, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you that Sigourney is the friendly voice who welcomes you to fish rehab. If it is, sorry. But really, is it? #NothingSigourneyCantDo
For my birthday this year, my sister got me a fish. Her name is Ruby, and her hobbies include jumping through hoops I make with pipe cleaners and going to sleep every night in her castle. I am not lying. I say “Goodnight Ruby-rubes,” and she swims right into it and I turn out the light on her tank. #Melting
Fish literally go with the flow (Unless they are salmon. Why you gotta show off, upstream swimmers? You are just going to get eaten by a grizzly bear. #CircleofLife), something I continually aspire to. Maybe that’s why I find them so soothing? Maybe Dory really is the wisest of us all when she sings, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”
What’s your happy/Zen place, Chronic readers?