Today I went to the Union Square PetCo to buy a new, bigger tank for my turtles. They’re on sale! I can get a 29-gallon tank for $30. It’s usually like $70. So that’s a GREAT deal. It’s also just big enough to be awkward to carry at any angle, and of course it’s also very heavy, so it’s going to be super fun to take home on the subway. So I almost bought it after work last week, but then didn’t want to take it home on a weekday at 6pm, so I waited until today, Saturday afternoon.
Life Tip: Never ever ever go to PetCo on a Saturday afternoon.
First of all, I almost accidentally got a new cat. Her name was Misty, she was VERY VERY FRIENDLY, and she was TINY: a year old, fully grown, but like an ITTY BITTY KITTEN SCHMOOOOO. And she was from South Carolina!! She’d been on a kill list!!! And SHE LOVED ME!!!! But no, it’s fine. I managed to walk away. And I’m sure Misty will be fine, too. She loved everyone, it turned out, including the mom with the young daughter and also the two twenty-year old roommates who all appeared to be taking turns holding her and glaring at each other to see who would get her as I left.
Then I went downstairs. And stared at the tanks. And paced. And couldn’t decide if I really wanted to attempt to lug it home. But I knew I should. So I decided I would. But first I looked at fake plants. Why are they so expensive! Then I wondered if maybe I could get a goldfish for my turtles to either eat or become friends with, whichever they chose. So I stared at fish for a long time. I also wanted snails or shrimp, but they would try to eat those for sure. So I stared at fish for a long time again. Fish are neat. I want fish! No, I do not want fish. Stared at the tanks some more. Man, I wish my stupid turtles were still tiny and cute. Do they need gravel? Do they need rocks? Do they need these rocks that glow under blacklights? Do they need a big ceramic thing shaped like a human skull with rubies for eyes? Do they need a purple hippo whose mouth opens and closes on a hinge when you stick the end of a bubbler tube inside its butt? Stare at the tanks some more. Maybe I don’t have to get them the giant tank if I get them a 6-gallon tank for feeding, and take them out of their regular tank every time they eat and poop, so that their regular tank stays clean. And the 6-gallon tank is only $16 and you can take it on the subway. But is that cheap? And mean? Wander away. And what’s the difference between water conditioner and “habitat cleaner?” And do they really need the conditioner at all? And how come mine don’t look ANYTHING like these red-eared sliders? WTF are mine?? Jesus, how come the red-eared sliders at PetCo look FUCKING UNHEALTHY AS SHIT?? One of them had a fucking HOLE in the top of its nose. I don’t think that’s supposed to be there. And their shells all look sort of murky and messed up. Wander. Pet a rabbit. Chat with hamsters for a while. I want a hamster. Chat with geckos for a while. Geckos ARE supposed to have holes in their heads, and it’s very cute. I almost got a gecko, too. Then I almost got a pacman frog. Okay, I’m definitely getting the habitat cleaner and the 6 gallon tank. Aaaaaaaand the line 8 people long, and every single person is signing up for a PetCo card. Pull out my book. Read. Wonder why the little boy in front of my is staring at me like that. Realize that my t-shirt has ridden up and the aquarium is smashed against my pale, naked belly, and I kind of look like Jabba the Hutt wearing those one particular kind of stripper heels that are all made of clear plastic? (Heh…found this searching for a photo…this is Helen Mirren, because duh, of course it is!) Pull down my shirt and hold the tank in a different, slightly more awkward manner so that it doesn’t smoosh my smooshable bits, while angrily thinking about how I shouldn’t, because I’M A FEMINIST. Get to the front of the line. Idly ask the guy if they deliver. They do, he says, but I have to ask someone upstairs about it. Hesitate. Delivery’s going to cost more than the tank itself, surely. This is stupid. I shouldn’t do this. Eye the guy suspiciously. FINE. Get out of line. Go upstairs.
Saturday afternoon at PetCo. Sixty year old men who are FURIOUS at you for letting their miniature pugs dressed in matching pirate costumes bark at you. A husky cheerfully eating cat food off the floor where someone dropped a bag and it split open. A man swinging his cat around in its carrier, trying to show it the parrot, which – is the parrot just supposed to be flying around like that? Is that on purpose, or is that a bad thing? I wander around for a while, trying to find someone who looks like they might be able to tell me something about having a $30 aquarium delivered to fucking Brooklyn. The line here is 70 people long. It’s almost Halloween. There are pet costumes. There are Star Wars pet costumes. I want to buy my pets Star Wars pet costumes. Look at this. Look at this goddamned dog right now. THIS NERD DOG IS GOING TO A BUSINESS MEETING. (I didn’t see this while I was there. If I’d seen this while I was there I would own this right now.) I want a gecko. I want a hamster. I want to put this on Digby’s goddamned head. I am going mad. I do not need a 29 gallon aquarium delivered to me. I go back downstairs. The line is 14 people long. I get in line. The woman behind me is trying very very very hard to engage me in conversation about how annoying this is, by saying things like, “Jesus!” and “Ugh!” and “Come on!” very loudly while looking at me. I pretend I’m deaf. Maybe I AM deaf! How does SHE know! I wait a while. I think: maybe I can just do it after work next week. I think: the tanks are on sale until the end of the month. I think: and I shouldn’t buy this stupid little one if I’m going to buy the big one later, anyway. I think: I want a hamster. I think: what if whatever kind of turtle I have, which is not a red-eared slider, isn’t even aquatic, and HATES that I keep making it swim??? WHAT IF I AM A MONSTER.
I get out of line. I put away the 6 gallon tank. I put away the habitat cleaner. I leave the store. I walk the long way around Union Square to the subway, to avoid walking through the farmers’ market, which I already walked through on the way here and which made me angry.
I buy a poem from this guy for $7.
I stand a few feet away from him while he types it and I feel stupid. I’m worried that I was rude to him when I requested it, but anyway I’m still running through some sort of fantasy where he has fallen in love with me and is writing me a love poem and he is totally going to ask me to run away with him and get like way married and also he is super rich. I have to keep moving around to try not to be in people’s pictures of him. People are taking a lot of pictures of him. Everyone is gorgeous and wonderful in Union Square. The poem he gives me is called “cloud computing” and I try not to cry when he reads it out loud to me. He asks me if I like it and I say I love it. I ask him if he likes it and he says, “I do, actually.” I go buy a “Berry UpBeet” Jamba Juice and I get on the train and I read the poem again and I do cry. Maybe I am not crying about the poem, but maybe I am. This is his website: allanandre.net.