Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A fishy tale

On Sunday G and I braved The Monstrous Shopping Mall (MSM) to get my phone upgrade, pay bills, and do (generally boring) shopping-type things. During the course of the afternoon we paid a visit to the toilet, as one does. We visited the ‘Moms-and-tots’ toilet, a small room in which there is an ‘adult’ toilet next to a ‘kiddy’ toilet, and the same with basins. As is fairly usual in MSM-type places, the toilet is an airless place with no outside light or air. Behind the side-by-side toilets, I kid you not, is a fish tank, set into the wall. A narrow little space, with a photo of waterplants stuck at the back and glass at the front. With fish in it.

I was horrified. I felt my latent-Greenpeace-hippy-activism rise, like bile, into my throat. Fish, swimming about, with nothing to see but mothers and tots (and me), peeing. Seems a little unfair to me. I decided to be a good citizen of the world and e-mailed them. This morning my phone rang (impressively), and on the other end was the MSM’s liason officer, or whatever she is. This was how our conversation went:

LO: Good morning Shiny, it’s LO here, in response to your mail.

Shiny: Hello, thanks for getting back to me.

LO: About the fish… Thank you for your concern. They are not actually anything to do with MSM and are looked after by an external fishy specialist.

Shiny: Right, but they’re in the MSM so, surely, you are ultimately responsible for them and it seems cruel and unnecessary to keep fish in an environment like that?

LO: They are fed and looked after by the fishy specialist who says they are perfectly happy there.

Shiny: I’m sure he does. He gets money from you every month for keeping them, as you call it, well-fed and ‘happy’.

LO: Yes, well, um, we have only had compliments from mothers before whose children can watch the fish while they finish their ‘business’.

Shiny: [sigh] Oh, right, well, as long as the moms and tots are happy, let’s forget about our finned friends. Thanks for getting back to me.

LO: Pleasure. Have a lovely day.

So now, I’m afraid, I am plotting. Human selfishness makes me cross. Children the world over have got along just fine for thousands of years while their mother’s finish their ‘business’ without putting little fish in tiny airless rooms behind glass, why the need now?

I have visions of G and I, balaclava-ed, leopard crawling through the MSM, Tupperware and net in hand, scooping our little fishy friends out of their tank and taking them down to the seaside to be released. I know, I know, they’re tropical and would probably freeze their fins off if I dumped them in the exceedingly cold Atlantic Ocean, but I’ll think of a better follow-up plan.

In the meantime, anyone know of a shop that stocks balaclavas (or maybe those Presidents of America rubbery masks)?


Angela said...

The first part is good - you do as planned, catch all the little sad, lonely fish out of the tank (when no one else is peeing), and then outside the door my daughter will meet you who will be on her way to the Indian Ocean which is much warmer, and THERE she can drop them. Okay? I`ll give you her phone number so can make a secret date!

Shiny said...

Geli - great idea! I'm sure they'll be so much happier there. I'll get onto the plan.