Lycidas 3: Have Fish, Will Travel?

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Before you read this, please know that despite the absurdity of this post, I am being completely serious.
You all need to know that I adore my fish. I think he’s the cutest thing in the world. I talk to him every time I see him. I even wrote a haiku about talking to him (talking to my fish/probably is not okay/oh well, what the hell).

But I have a problem. As of two hours ago, it is officially December in this time zone. The last day I need to be here is the 10th, unless by some strange turn of events I finish my Ulysses project three days early – and that isn’t happening, because this project is worth half my grade and I want to make an A in the class, dammit!

For me, being on break isn’t just about being back in my hometown and hanging out with my sister and her cat – it’s also about much greater things, like free food, going downtown and begging my friends to get pizza with me, and sleeping until noon every day. The holidays are such a special time, and I really want Lycidas to be a part of my winter break, because let’s face it: if he isn’t, then he will die.

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If only this guy could take care of Lycidas.

Who would be in Athens to take care of my fish? Nobody. And it’s not like I could just give him one of those big fish food pellets that can keep a fish alive for a week, because I will be gone for at least three weeks.

Then there is the whole water question. I have to clean out his tank biweekly because the water gets really cloudy and Lycidas does not enjoy swimming around in a rave from the 80s. And do you know what else water does? It evaporates. If I were away from Lycidas for three and a half weeks, then half the water in his tank would evaporate in my absence. I could ask somebody to watch him for me, but I don’t really know anybody who would be here the entire break.

It may be crazy, but I feel like the best option here is to take Lycidas home with me. There’s just one little issue: Lycidas lives in a filtered tank – he needs those little air bubbles to live. He can last in a vase for 15 minutes whenever I clean his tank, but I don’t know if he’s strong enough to take on sitting in a plastic cup for two hours while I drive to Macon. To be honest, that probably classifies as animal abuse. Plus there’s the whole issue of him dying in my car. You guys know I believe my capability as a responsible person completely depends on my ability to keep Lycidas alive, and since I’ve managed to do so for three months without any trauma, it would break my heart if I killed him when I was doing my best to keep him alive.

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Note: Lycidas is not a goldfish. I just like this picture.

I am truly in a predicament. Do any of you know anything about fish care? What about fish transport? Would it be better for me to leave Lycidas in Athens with some kind of pet-sitter? Or would he have a stronger chance of surviving through Christmas break if I took him home with me? And this isn’t the only time I would be away from Athens for a long time. Even though it’s far off, I still worry about what to do with him when the school year finally ends and I go home for the summer.

What is the best way to handle this situation? Will my baby die if I put him in a plastic cup for two hours? Is it possible for him to handle the stress that comes with long-distance travel? Can I make the possibility of spending Christmas with my fish a reality?

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Lycidas Part 2

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The things I’ll do to get out of homework can get pretty weird. In the past week, I’ve cleaned my entire apartment, rearranged my room, stayed at paper meetings until the last three people there wanted to go home, and made a Facebook account for my dog – yes, I have reached an all-time low.  On Monday, while I was developing a case of writer’s block, I decided to finally buy some vacuum cleaner bags because my room was a mess and I was tired of seeing my hair on the floor. (It has a nasty habit of falling out. Ask anyone I know.) Google told me that Walmart was the only place that sold Oreck vacuum bags, so I went there.
In order to access the cleaning section, I had to walk past the pet section, which is interestingly adjacent to the electronics and entertainment section. I peered down an aisle and saw fishtanks, remembering that I had wanted to get a fish for a while. Let me refresh your memory – or, if you didn’t read my last Lycidas post, catch you up – I took a Milton class last semester, and one of the poems I had to read, Lycidas, was an elegy for one of Milton’s friends who had drowned. I thought it would be really funny to get a fish and name it Lycidas, because yeah, fish can live underwater. There! Now you’re caught up! But I had to wait for a while. You see, I didn’t want to get a fish before I went to Austria, because I was worried that whoever I entrusted with taking care of it would accidentally let it die. Inadvertently letting your fish starve to death while you’re in Europe is just not fair.
But I wasn’t in Europe anymore. I wasn’t going anywhere for a while. I decided that I had finally come across an opportune moment for a fish. I had been eating vegetables. I had been cleaning ferociously. I was writing weekly. Clearly I was responsible enough for a fish! And here, in a Walmart, I had come across the coolest fish in the world.
And this is how Lycidas came into my life.
Lycidas is the first animal I’ve gotten since I left for school. The only one. I don’t really count Norman because Norman is a plant. Lycidas is my animal, and mine alone. This means that I really want everything to go perfectly and have been freaking out over a fish. I watch him to make sure he eats his food – he’s a little bad at this; at the moment, I’m not sure whether he’s still adjusting to living somewhere else, just not hungry at the moment, or dumb. Or I guess he could have a tiny appetite. Thanks to Dr. Seuss, I believe that fish have enormous appetites. Or I could be basing that off my own appetite. Anyway, I’m trying really hard not to screw up because I feel like fish are really easy to kill. Oh, and because I now believe that my credibility as a responsible person depends on my fish’s life.
I suppose you want to see a picture. Here is Lycidas in all his Instagram glory:

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I told you he was the coolest. And here is again, once he finally became a little less camera-shy. He had to adjust to his new environment, you know.

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