Sunday, March 6, 2005

I wish I had a dog. Instead, I got Mom.

Now, I've been on this planet for a little over twenty-three years, and I've been hoping for a canine companion for most of that time. So I can pretty safely assume that if my mom's been relenting for this long, she's not going to give in today. It's become a running joke in our household, albeit one that was funnier back when I was about twelve.

When I get my own apartment, the first thing I'm gonna get is a dog, maybe even before I get myself a bed. This causes my parents consternation to no end, and I have to hear crazy, crazy things like, "You know what you have to do when you when you have a dog? You have to walk it."

"You know when you have a dog, you have to feed it and take care of it."

"You know when you have a dog, you have to clean up after it."

Here's the backstory: I've been begging my parents for a dog for as long as I can remember, and when I was about eight or nine, my parents relented, sort of. They let me get one of those ninety-nine cent goldfish they feed to pirahnas (really), which, in case you're in market for an animal companion, really can't compare to a dog or a cat or anything that can survive outside a glass container. Nevertheless, one goldfish gave way to another, which gave way to another, which gave way to another; this pattern of golfish death, flushing, and replacement — the beautiful circle of life — went on for years after I stopped caring about the damn fish.

So we tried to keep up my interest by switching from goldfish to tropical marine fish, those expensive, fragile, fluorescent fish which it's probably a horrible idea to buy online. These beautiful little bastards need even more attention than the goldfish. Their saltwater corrodes the aquarium. The tank's specific gravity, pH, and nitrate levels need monitoring. The fish are essentially high-maintance decor, and as algae turns absolutely everything in the tank green, they stop being even that.

Eventually, I stopped feeding the fish. Then I stopped feeding the fish, letting them die. Turns out tropical fish are surprisingly resilient; it took more than a year to starve the poor things. And during this time, the task of cleaning up after the fish and tolerating their odor fell to Mom, the animal lover.

I think she's still a bit resentful.