Reveling with the Fishes

bull sharks

Bull sharks at the Oklahoma Aquarium. I bet they miss the ocean, too.

In a roundabout way, and hardly as dramatic as I may make it sound right now, I kind of lost my marbles a few weekends ago. Utter loneliness, boredom, feelings of uselessness, and cabin fever have all taken their toll on me. So badly, in fact, that I demanded my husband find a job somewhere near the coast and move us all to an ocean town immediately. Instead, he suggested we take a weekend trip to Tulsa.

It worked, guys. It totally worked. And now I’m calm.

While I was genuinely having a good time in Tulsa touring a retired American Airlines jet and eating Scotch eggs (not simultaneously), I wasn’t aware that any particular feelings were missing. As someone born with a black cloud over my head, I immerse myself in those situations fully, in those moments when I’m happy enough. I feel like if I ask for anything more I’ll be branded as boring, selfish, or, quite frankly, undeserving.

Oh, it’s such crap, I know. But that’s sometimes just how my mind works.

And then it hit me the following day, that moment when things went from happy enough to…well, I don’t know what you call it, but the feeling is pretty fantastic.

It’s funny how our sense of smell can lighten our mood when it catches just the right scent. In the summertime, it’s the smell of charcoal grills and sunscreen. In the winter, it’s pine trees and maple syrup. The right scent for me, for just this weekend, happened to be stagnant aquarium water, but with equal parts fishiness and salt (it’s really not as disgusting as it sounds). A precise measurement, if you ask me.

On Sunday afternoon, I found myself standing next to a turtle exhibit, dipping my nose down closer to the surface and inhaling deeply. A poorly designed replica of a salt water marsh, complete with a fake egret, actually sent my heart racing. The puffer fish, the parrot fish, and even my Resting Bitch Face broke into a smile.

All those neurons that occasionally shoot off messages of happiness around my brain? They were pinging like crazy.

happy puffer fish

A smiling puffer fish


A smiling parrot fish

Note to self on how to endure future winters:

  • Vitamin D
  • SAD lamp
  • acquire tangerines from parents’ backyard tree
  • coconut scented hot tub water
  • visit an aquarium
  • close eyes and listen to this


7 thoughts on “Reveling with the Fishes

  1. For someone who really digs Florida, it makes sense that you would enjoy a fish aquarium and sour turtle whatever. And all those fishies SMILING at you! What a treat for cabin fever.

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