Thursday, November 20, 2008

In Which I am Dissed by Tropical Fish

For the Mermaid Girl's birthday, the Renaissance Woman bought her a pair of fish. Black-skirted tetras, to be specific. About the size of goldfish, but slightly more exciting-looking. And they've sat on her desk ever since, in their small pink terrarium, swimming around in circles around their little pink castle, and occasionally hiding behind the heater.

They're pretty low-maintenance, as pets go. Every couple of weeks MG and RW scoop out half the water and clean the tank, and twice a day MG feeds them, flipping open the little trapdoor at the top of their tank and carefully sprinkling in just a few flakes of the green flaky fish stuff. They've learned that the trapdoor flipping means food's coming, so they always dart right up when she opens it and suck up the food and then swim around excitedly.

But here's the thing: every once in a while, MG asks if I'll feed the fish for her. And when I feed them, they never jump right up. Even when I make a big deal out of flipping open the little door, and even when I crumple up the flakes especially enticingly, they just swim around lazily, sort of like, "meh, well, whatever, I might grab a bite later..."and then maybe after a few seconds they'll drift up and take a nip or two of food, just to be polite, I guess.

So my question is: can it possibly be that they can tell the difference between me and MG, and that they like her better? I mean, aren't we all just big blurs to them? And, if they like her better...WHY??


Anonymous rachel said...

Fish can, in fact, recognize the people who feed them. They don't associate you with teh goodies - it's nothing personal.

6:12 AM  
Blogger jo(e) said...

How rude! Nothing worse than being rejected by a couple of tetras.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Fluprosis said...

Neurologists have confirmed (using a form of MRI brain scans adapted to marine life) that fish can visually identify a startling variety of shapes and objects, and that they can distinguish between different fish with very small distinctions in shape, coloring, etc. They can also identify intention with great accuracy, which is why fish will swim closely to dangerous looking fish without fear - because they can identify which forms of marine life intend to eat them.

So they can obviously detect the difference between you and your daughter. I bet she is more attentive, loving, and they respond to that.

Given this emotional complexity, how do you feel about your tuna sandwich now?

Vegetarianly yours.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...

Mmmmm! Sentient!

7:20 PM  
Anonymous missjess said...

So does MG still do circus stuff? I would like to hear about that

9:04 PM  

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