Contributing Writer: Leslie Foster
The Goldfish in the Room
Once upon a time, God said it was not good for man to be alone. I would suggest that it is also not good for this woman to be alone. When I moved three states from home last fall, I braced myself for feeling alone, and the feeling didn’t let me down. I know that God is faithful and that He has promised to meet our needs, and I am hopeful that he is in the process of working out a permanent roommate for me. In the meantime I decided to get some fish.
I like pets. Growing up on a small farm, there were always animals around of some sort. My mom loved Siamese cats, and generally had one or two living in the house. We always either had a dog, or were in the process of getting one. And then there were chickens, geese, pigs, cows, and even a horse. I also had a slow parade of fish, birds, and hamsters over the years.
Now let me clarify: at no point did I or anyone else ever think that I would turn out to be a vet. I didn’t sing and accidentally gather small woodland creatures with oversized eyes to my feet. But I’ve always enjoyed pets. Pets aren’t as good as people, especially from the perspective of an extreme extrovert such as myself. But pets, and in my case, goldfish, are a fair second choice to people. Here’s why.
Goldfish give you someone to talk to. This is an important point. These last eight months have taught me that, given enough alone time, I will start talking to nothing. Literally. Out loud. It’s embarrassing, even though I’m alone. Kind of like how you wait until you’re in an empty elevator to take care of that wedgie that’s been plaguing you. Even though no one can see you, you still feel a little awkward about it. But now that I have goldfish in my apartment, I can talk to them. They’re not responsive so far, but I am confident they’ll warm up to me with time.
Pets never complain about your choice in music, your poor housekeeping skills, or the way that you wake them up early by doing your yoga workout video before work. They are happy to eat most of their lives from the $1.59 container of goldfish flakes that you bought them, which saves you a lot of money. They don’t fight with you or each other. They don’t stay out late and wake you up when they get in. Perhaps most importantly, they never swipe a can of Diet Dr. Pepper while you’re not looking. All in all, they’re really quite easy to get along with, goldfish.
And finally, goldfish make my apartment feel less lonely. One day, I hope to live as part of a family again. I expect to be annoyed by someone’s dirty socks lying in the living room for the third consecutive day. I plan to feel frustrated when, after an hour of working in the kitchen, I present a meal that is met with a distinct lack of appreciation. And I am confident that I will have noticeably less time for napping, sleeping late, and going to bed early. I hope that one day, these things will be a part of my life. But in the interim, I mean to enjoy my low-maintenance pseudo-friend: my new goldfish.
image via flicker-JoSullivan.59