It all started innocently enough. I was chatting with a co-worker, in his cubical, and she was listening to the conversation. He was ignoring her, but she caught my eye. She would shake her head, sometimes at my words, sometimes at my co-worker's. I can't remember the conversation, but I remember her.
Next time I stopped to chat with the co-worker, she was in his cubical again. She looked the same, a fresh face. I am a bit embarrassed about this, but I was drawn to her . . . tail. Oh, you see the other female in the cubical was a goldfish.
And until recently, I thought fish were more like decorations than animals. You know, you see the Beta in an oversized brandy snifter, and you think, nice decoration. You don't think, this is an animal with its own thoughts and needs and desires.
But this fish, I will call her Goldie, changed all of that. My co-worker took a two week vacation recently, and he asked me to watch his fish for the time he was away. And by watch, he really meant feed his fish. He gave me some flakes and no instructions and he left Goldie to my care.
I looked at the amount of flakes left, and I thought to myself, "This is not going to last two weeks," so I went to the store to get a bit more food. The nice person at the store convinced me to buy a different type of food, in pellets instead of flakes.
So I started feeding the goldfish pellets. They were cleaner than the flakes for sure, and they seemed to make the goldfish come out of her shell. Not that goldfish have shells. After a few days, the goldfish seemed to interact with me more, almost starting to beg for its food. At first I was feeding the fish the first thing in the morning – feed fish, log into computer, read blogs, get coffee, start to work. I would do things in that order. Then I started feeding the fish a few pellets when Goldie begged for them.
And by the end of the two weeks, I really thought Goldie had started to have a personality. She would recognize my blur as I went by, I would swear, and she would beg for food. Plus she was really, really happy to see me.
I know, I know. Rational people don't think goldfish can think. Perhaps Goldie is extraordinary.
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