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Monday, March 08, 2004

More Creature Comforts

While giggling quietly to Just a Minute on the BBC Radio Four website, I find myself feeling somewhat guilty for raving about the rodent pets, and completely ignoring the existence of the underwater kinds which also share my living space, though less noisily.

Zee is a goldfish. More specifically, a shubunkin. He seems to have an uncanny knack of surviving where no other fish can, given the considerable number of tank-mates he has had and lost. He (is it a he? who knows?) swims contentedly (I presume? who knows?) around his hexagonal tank amid plants (fake and real), and the air pump vibrates so noisily that he seems to survive on minimal oxygen, as the noise annoys me too much to have it on too often, or for too long.

Interaction with, and entertainment from goldfish is fairly untypical, though he recognises me when it is feeding time. He rather exists in his own hexagonal idyll, providing me with welcome relaxation when I watch him, for which I am grateful.

The other underwater creatures in this house are the intolerably dull sea monkeys. I was stunned to find multitudes of websites and message boards full of people marvelling about these bizarre life forms. Ok, so their ability to be born when they come into contact with water, after being freeze dried, is momentarily impressive, but from then on you are obliged to feed what are essentially little bugs swimming and shagging in a tub of water.

Some people rave about these things, give each a name, and there was even an article published in USA Today in which the author bemoans the death of three of hers (how did she notice?). I could name mine I suppose, if I could tell the difference between them, but they are so very, very dull that they rarely get called anything other than "boring" or "weird".

And yes, they have sex. And when they do it, they really go for it, sometimes shagging for over 24 hours. I did not know this until they started doing it, and I wondered for several days whether two pairs of them were somehow stuck together. Internet research (which led me to discover this incomprehensible adoration of sea monkeys by so many people) told me that they were indeed mating, and this can go on for some time. No baby boring things seem to have appeared yet though.

I know, you're thinking I'm an appalling pet owner, but seriously, they are too, too dull to merit any other kind of written treatment. I look after them well. I figure that inherent boring-ness was not enough to condemn them to certain death by starvation, so I follow the contradictory and confusing instructions on keeping them healthy, and will do for as long as they are swimming and shagging in the plastic tub.

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