Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Journal Entry 6/13/2003 (Dad's Work)


Something made itself apparent to me today.

I took 'lex to the aquarium in Atlantic City a few miles away. Both of us are very fond of marine life, but it seemed to me that we're usually burdened by having to observe them in free movement. There's no isolation, so it's hard to get an especially good look at any of them.

So, we went, and it being 'lex's first time to any aquarium, I thought the experience would be interesting. I tend to take a bit of extra time observing them, though, so I offered her the chance to roam around (It's also apparent to me that She rather dampens 'lex's ability to wander freely as a child should.) When I offered, however, she abstinently told me no, and refused to explain why. It seemed strange to me, but that's only one aspect of this story that is unique.

We went from tank to tank, taking our time to read about the fish and watch them make goofy faces seemingly at us. She laughed, of course, and I thought she was enjoying herself.

There's an elevator that can take you to the third floor there. It leads to a balcony that watches over the harbor and gives you a breathtaking view of the city in the distance. Sadly, I didn't bring a camera. I would've loved to staple a picture of that in this passage. So instead, we stood up there just to look. I lifted her onto my shoulders and pointed out the buildings, the badly painted cars, and what I thought to be a large catfish swimming in the harbor (Especially strange note, it seemed that the shadow of that catfish extended several yards away...). I asked her if she was enjoying herself, out of curiosity.

I never imagined, though, that she would give me the blatant "no" that she did.

I asked her why, and she told me very simply: "It's nicer to be with them when they're happy, and free."

I told her in an attempt to reassure her: "These fish couldn't be any happier than they are here. They're fed well and their tanks simulate their natural environment."

She retorted: "Have you ever seen a cat at the pet store paw at the glass?"

Damn her for being so smart, and at age 10...

And damn me for not seeing it before.

Needless to say, I'm taking her out tomorrow to dive.


I think this is important for my first post. It came from one of my dad's journal entries that he wrote 10 years ago. I don't even entirely remember this conversation, but I suppose that even from a young age, I recognized the illusory freedom that fish in a fish tank have. It's so much more surreal to see those beautiful creatures in the open sea, which is ironic because that's the most realistic you can get.

I feel like in many ways, we live in much the same conditions. Our lives are never natural. There is always another hand poking its way into our environment, controlling the way we act and what we do. There is always someone above us making sure we keep ourselves in the cycle of economic power control that keeps the industry of human livestock afloat. Thus, we're merely fish in a fish tank -- being watched, being tricked, and being used for the entertainment and financial welfare of someone else.

Maybe I'm a cynic. Maybe I'm not. But if you dare to think about it:

Look over every single thing you do as part of your daily routine. Your actions, your job, your typical activities, etc.

Do the majority of those things result in the financial gain of another person?

I asked myself this once. Now, instead of going out to dinner for fun, I sit in one of the many trees that hang over my "backyard" and whistle with the music of the forest, sometimes strumming a guitar. Call it theatrical, but it's more liberating than most people could ever realize.

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