Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Tale of Braveheart… the Fish

Instead of working on my homework that I will have absolutely no time for next week, I am going to be a bad student today and tell you about the recent goings on in my life. First of all, spring break was last week. Guess what I did! I stayed here, in UniverCity and worked with MS, while training for the DA internship that I might not even get. Yes, I know I keep tacking that last bit on, just to keep my hopes from rising to a level where it will suck if I get rejected. Because of this training, I have learned more about domestic violence, sexual assault, murder, and victim psychology then I ever thought I would need to/want to know. I was fingerprinted for the first time (and I think they smudged the last bit, so I might need to run out to the sheriff's office one day, you know, 20 miles from my house with no car, to do it over again. I have also been forced to confront the demons that have been hiding inside me about my own sexual assault. And on top of all this, the hardest part of this job, I can't share with anyone else, and that is the stories. The stories about the victims. I nearly started crying in my training the other day because of one of the stories, because I could picture my mom in the place of the victim, saying the same thing. It's hard to listen to, and it's confidential. Ruff stuff.

So now it's the weekend. I've been making up for the tough stuff (you know in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, how they always have a section on tough stuff? Yeah, most of the victim stories about the cases belong in that section) by eating pizza, watching movies and House marathons, and buying a fish. That's right. A fish. His name is Braveheart and I got him yesterday at the pet store for 27¢. Mhm, 27/100 of a dollar. Including his bowl and water conditioner and everything, he actually probably cost me more along the lines of about 20 bucks, but I think he was a worthy investment.

A couple of weeks ago, I was Stumbling on the internet with StumbleUpon and I came across a quote from Carl Jung that depression can be treated by caring for something that is living. At the time, I was feeling like crap, partially because I've been having issues with self-worth and how that correlates to friendship, and the perception of how others view the self. Anyway, I stumbled upon this, and thought that maybe a pet would be an automatic friend, someone I can talk to and tell all my thoughts and fears to, when in all actuality, it would be me talking to myself, and processing my own thoughts aloud to an animate object that can't actually understand me. So his name is Braveheart.

Originally, I was going to get a beta. I like betas. They're beautiful, you can keep them in a small bowl, and you rarely have to change the water. You don't need a filter or air bubbles for them. They are simple creatures. When I got to the pet store, I found a beta that I liked: a beautiful grey-ish blue with bright blue where his fins attached to his body, and red at the tips of his fins. He was absolutely gorgeous. Then I noticed that there was a hole in the top of the container that he was in; a hard plastic container, like something that you would purchase the employee-made potato salad in at Safeway. This kind of container is not something that would be conducive to keeping a fish alive for an hour on a bumpy bike ride home. So I rethought my purchase a little. Should I come back on a day when I can catch a bus here, or when I can get a ride? Do I really need a pet? I guess not, but I really want one, and I really want to get it tod—ooh goldfish! Oh my gosh, they're 14 times less expensive than the beta! But a beta is prettier. But I can get a goldfish home safer if they put them in one of those plastic bags that they give you at the fair when you win the coin toss. But goldfish are so common. But betas aren't really active. I really wish I could have a hamster, but I don't think it would be easy to hide it and what if it escaped like Snowball did that one time, and someone found out about it and told MS? I think she's be pretty upset about a rodent. But goldfish only come in one color—wait, no they don't! They have grey ones in the tank too!

Anyway, the debate in my head went on like this for awhile, and I did seriously consider a hamster as another option. I finally asked an employee to explain what I need for a basic tank for a goldfish, my mind not quite made up yet. I finally put away the beautiful beta, and asked the man who was helping me to get a fish out of the tank. He asked if there was a specific one that I wanted. I didn't really care, they looked all the same to me, until I saw him. The pretty white goldfish with the orange on the top of his head and a spot on the top of his fin. The associate fished (insert repressed amused snort here) my fish out of the tank, and deposited him into the bag (score!) that would be his home for the next 3-4 miles, the next 45 minutes, which might have been the worst of his life. I had all the equipment (which included two pounds of gravel (black, to accent his white color), a tank that I had thriftily purchased at the thrift store next door, a small plant, water conditioner and treatment, and fish food, along with the stuff that I had brought with me) in my bag, which was quite heavy, and the fish in the bag the pet store gave me (because it gave me a little more to hold onto than the bag he was housed in). I figured he would get squished if I put him in my purse with the other stuff, so I held onto him the whole ride home. I'm sure he was traumatized by the motion of the ocean in the bag, so when we got home, I made him comfortable right away. So comfortable, in fact, that he stopped moving for the rest of the day. I thought he was dead.

Later in the evening, I fed him a little when he started moving again, and he got quite active. Now he's moving and swimming and cute, and hence the name Braveheart. I think if he wasn't brave, he wouldn't have made it, and I would be flushing Braveheart and going back to the pet store on Thursday to get another 27 cent fish. Hell, I still might go back to get another one. Forget what the man said about one fish per gallon. I'm sure two fish will be fine in my tank.

I told my mom that I bought a fish yesterday, and I can't remember the whole conversation, but I think when I mentioned that I was calling him Braveheart, she was like, "What??" and asked me why I was naming a fish I was going to eat. I think she thought that I had gone mad for sure at that point, because I kept using the word we to refer to myself and the fish, so I told her about my trip to the pet store. She got it then. I also told her about the little boys who were laughing at the mice, two of which were holding on for dear life to the wheel while one ran. You can imagine what that scene was like. Although, I will admit that I laughed too.