No, not him….he’s not ready for me yet…..I’m in love with a fish, or rather, mammal. I’m not only in LOVE…..I want to BE a Beluga Whale. Just for a month or so. Well, maybe longer. A summer perhaps.
There I was, busy with my day, dashing off to work, on the phone, on the computer, chatting here, arranging there, stirring the pot, turning the wheels of industry…(trying in earnest, certainly)….la de da….then as I tidied my desk for another busy day tomorrow, I sped off to Atlanta, through yuk-oid traffic to an industry Food Show, showcasing the newest products and foods. (My new thing to experience for this week). It was at the Atlanta Aquarium which (oops), I’d not been to yet. Well, I’ve been busy.
So, in I went, scores of food stations, people zipping from one to another like droning ants, nothing new really, (though that Thai wrap was yummy). I realized for SURE then that I eat for sustenance most of the time and for the aesthetic experience when the occasion permits. During the week, it’s fuel, THOUGH, out at night with a friend or at a marketing or networking occasion with my chef preparing something scrumptious, that’s another matter. I adore trying new foods, new restaurants, traveling the world to experience new ‘fuel’ prepared beautifully, ‘tastefully’. Yes! I like the aesthetics of beautiful, tasty, healthy food.
(A story for another time…a favorite Colorado fine dining experience atop a veeeery high mountain that we had to get to on two gondolas, in a blizzard which ended in snow angels, well, after a good portion of ‘fine’ wine)!! Priceless.
So, not really wanting any more nibbles of the tables and tables of food…not terribly interesting to me really and I hate to eat standing up trying to balance my purse, a glass of wine, (in a plastic cup, urgh)….and the jazz band was doing, (I swear), a Thelonius Monk rendition of some Norah Jones thingy that had my ears and eyebrows looking like Mr. Spock……I decided to head to the big window with the rocks on the ‘ocean’ floor.
Then, in a milli-second, my life changed… in the distance I saw him. Mr. Beluga. (This is how quickly ‘love’ can take hold. A glance across the room that has a particular vibe….boom, you know you’re in for something…who cares what….something)! He was hanging upside down floating with complete grace and contentment in the salty feaux sea. And I don’t mean, belly up, I mean tail on top, head toward the sea floor, as if someone roped him to a tree to dangle like baloney, set to cure. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him! A huge mass of fishiness, weighing around 2500 pounds, his little fins kept him perfectly upside down while he calmly flapped away enjoying his inversion experience.
I was sooooo jealous. My emotion surprised me. Here I was, having raced away from my home turf for my ‘new’ Food Show experience, bored silly with stupid old, same ole-same ole stuff that I’ve tasted a ca-zillion times. Same old linens and people and displays. (Clearly I had a bit of a grump going on). And I know why. There he was, making me never more clear…..
I don’t play enough!!!!!!!!
I’m busy building empires and there is not enough PLAY involved. I was BORN to play. My formidable career was acting….we play, actors PLAY. We make stuff up, run around, dance, sing, flirt, create cool stuff, go out and celebrate after a formidable performance….for crying out loud, I learned to tumble, cartwheel, walk on my hands and juggle fire….why??? because it seemed fun….and it WAS! I LOVE TO PLAY!!
And here he was, doing what I needed to do. As the hundreds of people munched and sipped bad wine from their plastic cups, I felt myself enter the aquarium with my mind. There I was, naked as a Beluga, upside down, doing the ‘inversion’ thing, just hanging with my pal….Petra, I think was his name. And just as I imagined myself having balancing fins, SWOOOOOOP in swam Mama Beluga from the right, Natasha, the show girl….her huge mass helped me see how far away Petra was in the distance. Good Gawd….she’s enormous, but agile and svelte as Ester Williams in her synchronized Hollywood water shows.
And she was flirting with me, her beady little whale eye looking right into mine. She read me. She knew me. We were kin! She’d twist and turn like a soft tootsie roll in a five year old’s hand, back and forth, breaking the water up top then sliding down like oil in a pan toward me almost brushing the side of the glass where I stood hostage, unable to join my playmates, the REAL new experience that I needed for the week.
Marianne, the aquarium ‘concierge’ (I guess), told me everything about my new pals. I was hungry for it all. Where were they from, did they always live in captivity, what do they eat, does she flirt with EVERYONE?? And each time she’d swoop by I’d smile as big as a Kansas sky and wave like I was six years old, my hand so high, supported by the other to stretch it further so the teacher might see it to ‘pick me, pick me!’.
‘Hi Natasha, hey buddy….remember me….it’s me, it’s BB….remember?’ Remember?
I’m not sure why those words fell from my mouth. But somewhere your soul knows….when you recognize that person, that 2000 pound Beluga across the aquarium, you know, you know, you’ve been friends, comrades, lovers, sisters, in perhaps another lifetime, another stratisphere, another species.
And suddenly, Natasha stopped in front of me, a dead stop with her little bitty fins working overtime, ignoring all the crabcake and spanikopita eaters beside me; she just stopped and pierced me with her polka dot, tiny eyeball. And just as quickly she swooned backwards in another Ester Williams move, graceful, agile, nimble, easy as slicing cheesecake….she had the world at her fin tips. I wanted to be her. Comfortable in her body, her image, her ability to enjoy. What a model of literally ‘going with the flow’.
Stats on my new friends:
A Dancing Beluga Whale:
Diet: Carnivore (though I’m sure she’d spare me….as she’d know the value of a great dance partner)
Average lifespan in the wild: 35 to 50 years
Size: 13 to 20 ft (4 to 6.1 m)
Weight: 2,000 to 3,000 pounds (907 to 1,361 kilograms)
Group name: Pod (I’d be a Pod-mate).
Protection status: Threatened 😦
Size relative to a bus:
And on a final underwater note…did you know? Unlike most other whales, the Beluga has a flexible neck that enables it to turn its head in all directions. And Natasha was, she was, making an angled turn in the aquarium while her pretty neck turned slowly, coquettishly to flirt and play with the red headed lady with the knit brow who wondered,
‘how can I get IN THAT AQUARIUM without Marianne the aquarium concierge seeing me’?
Somehow caviar will never be the same.