Monday, November 28, 2011

Wow. Well, that was very healing.

Last week I took Grace to our local garden centre, which has a cafe and indoor playground. Just outside the cafe is a pond with ducks in it. Grace loves to go out there and I always resist it. Why? Cause that pond has koi fish in it.

I can't stand koi fish. They totally gross me out. This is my confession.

Are you repelled by something for no real reason? For me, it's koi fish. At this particular little pond, the fish are used to getting fed, so they swarm at this one area. Grace always goes and stands there. She bends down against the railing, talking to them, and wants me to bend down too. "Ugh, Grace--I am so grossed out right now. Can we just go back to the playground? Please?" (Sometimes I find myself talking to her like she's an adult.) "No!" she says, pointing at the water, "Stay fish!" She is only satisfied if I squat down next to her, down near the surface of the water. And those fish, so big and squirmy and orange...their mouths gape open and rise above the surface of the water. Open and close, open and close. Their big black eyes stare at me vacantly. Stop staring at me, freaky fish! Ugh, it skeeves me out all over again just writing about it.
Okay, seriously--those gaping mouths, and how they just swarm around each other! And they look at you all askance like that? Gross, right? It gives me the shivers. Never trust a koi fish.

For years now, whenever I'd be around one of those decorative pond things that had koi in them, I'd feel this vague uneasy feeling. I just didn't like them, and they creeped me out. But I didn't know why. Oh, the unsearchable depths of the human heart. Am I right, guys?

Then one day, I remembered. As a kid, my pediatrician's office was in a medical centre. The grounds outside it were landscaped quite nicely, with a garden and little waterways. There were little wooden footbridges over the water that you'd take to get into the building. And, I hope you don't mind taking this painful journey with me, but you know where this is going don't you?

In these little ponds outside the doctor's office were koi fish. Those squirmy, wormy, gape-mouthed fish. And we'd always stop and watch them swim around. As a kid, I don't remember being bugged by them. But I think, that over the course of years I must've associated seeing them with feeling crappy. Every time I had an ear infection, a sore throat, a stomach bug, or needed immunizations, I saw koi fish. Just there, swimming and looking at me while I felt so yuck.

Those stupid, stupid, ugly, stupid head fish.

LOL, guys! I'm kidding. A little. Except for the part about koi fish being totally disgusting. That's no joke. The human brain is a strange thing...I actually feel physically uncomfortable when Grace and I are there at that little pond, watching the fish. It's like this visceral reaction that I have to being around them. And I'm always relieved when I can finally convince her to go elsewhere.

What about you? What grosses you out that everyone else is cool with? Is it feet? Black olives? Soggy cereal? Dental floss? This is a safe place. Let's just get the feelings and emotions flowing up in here.


  1. I agree with you that those fish are yucky, but I don't have such a strong reaction as you. I remember that little pond primarily for the ducks there.Cute, quacky ducks. But they don't cancel out the koi, do they? It's funny how aversions develop in a person. I've gotten used to your daily posts. I think you should continue them into December! Okay?

  2. Stupid dumb fish!

    Two things: I totally remember the whole fish pond outside the doctor's office, but I don't have quite the visceral memory of it that you do. I don't think you were sick more than me, in fact, I think I might have been sick more--that whole year of strep/tonsillitis. I missed 34 days of school in 8th grade. So funny that it has stayed with you in this way.

    Also, when I was at UCSC, there was a lovely koi pond within walking distance of our apartment on campus. That MTV show about frats/sororities came to town, and as a stunt, one of the frat guys caught a really old koi out of that pond and cooked and ate him. Seriously, it was like some magical heritage koi that was wise or could read. And then the uni kicked the greek organizations off campus.

    In Santa Cruz, you do not mess with the koi.

  3. Omg, I forgot about the guy cooking and eating it!! That is truly terrible. And also totally revolting.

    Yeah, I don't know why it's effected me and not you, you were a much more sickly child. A weak constitution, as they say. Lol ;) I must've already not liked them, and this just sent me over the edge.

  4. Anna - french manicured toenails

    Eric - Parmesan cheese. "smells like 100 men taking off their shoes at the same time."

  5. Anna! I think I remember talking with Eric about his dislike of cheese in general. But yes, I can see how parmesan would be particularly off-putting. ;) And french manicured toenails...hmmm, you've given me something to think about!