Sweet Mother of Pearl Bailey, that’ll teach me to pull my punches.

I know the Pope can’t speak at Mecca.

That’s the point. I’ll have more to say about this tomorrow in the Screedblog where it belongs, and I need a night to digest my irritation. I can only blame my own ineptness; I thought it would be sufficient to let an obvious impossibility sit there like a trout stinking on the dock, given what I’ve written before, but apparently not. Right now I am looking forward to a week off from all this. Really.

(Deep, cleansing breath)

Fish: what a fargin’ racket. I understand why the fish themselves may cost a buck or two, and I am happy to pay for a pump that does not short out and consume the house in a ghastly electrical fire. But four dollars for a small plastic weed to put in the tank? Why so much? Big R & D costs?

I was pleased, however, to see Gnat choose the treasure chest as the main ornament for the tank. Always go with the classics. Alas, it does not open and shut, but it’s still a treasure chest, with all the yo-ho-ho connotations implied.

Bought a small net to get the fish into the tank, but that didn’t work. The net did not unfurl and the fish would have nothing to do with it, and I risked crushing their little bodies with the thing. Had to transfer water out of the tank, carefully pour out the bag-water without sending five bucks worth of neon tetras down the drain, which might have been traumatic. Not for the loss of money, but the loss of life.

“What’s more important, dad – fish or money?” she asked en route to the pet store.

“That’s a tough one. Fish are important for the world, to feed people and other fish and make oceans interesting, but you have to have money to feed fish at home, and it takes money to keep our family going, and we are more important than fish. Not the general idea of fish necessarily, although I’d argue that, but the specific examples of fish.”

“Daddy, you’re talking NONSENSE. Fish are more important than money because fish are alive and living things are more important.”

“True. Generally. I – oh, look, a puppy.” I didn’t want to follow that line of argument in any direction, because you either end up defending money over life or guppies over bearer bonds.

After we put the fish in the tank she named them: Rosie, Gulpy, Finny, and Blueshine. They seem fine so far. I am careful not to overfeed them, which seems the main peril of Fish. Only in America. Leading cause of fish death: gluttony! Then we went to the office where I did a few office things; after that, time to kill: let’s take the light rail to the end of the line. For some reason it seemed telling and typical that the ticket machine gave change in Susan B. Anthony quarters from 1979.

Only ten blocks or so, but still an adventure for a little kid. Our first trip. We sat in front of a sullen youth who smacked his gum and sprawled his legs in the aisle; across the row, four Canadians on vacation. They noted with pride that the train was built in Canada (by Bombardier, in fact.) We walked around for a while, then got back on the train – this time it was full of commuters heading home early. Interesting demographic shift: one way the train was full of guys in casual street clothes, perhaps heading down for the evening shift; the same car ten minutes later was filled with men and women in suits heading home. The first group looked resigned; the second group looked annoyed. Harried. Bothered. There were a few travelers heading to the airport, and they had a look I’ve worn myself: the weary resolve of someone about to embark on eight hours of petty botheration and discomfort, ending in jangly relief when you finally get home and throw the keys on the table. Where that table was – New York, Peoria, Dallas, Spokane – you had no idea.

Home. Grilled hamburgers to the consistency of moist charcoal, walked the dog, finished the Diner – up tomorrow – and fired up the browers to check the usual sites.

Uh oh.

About which I will say more this afternoon on the Screedblog. For those disinterested in these matters, well, new Fence. With Salsa!

Perm link here.)

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