Tag Archives: fishing

A Fishy Tale

I seem to end up looking like a doofus in public more often than most people. I prefer to think it’s sheer coincidence, and nothing to do with me personally.  (Denial:  Not just a river in Egypt.)  Last month it was my disintegrating shoes.  This week I entertained the crowd by juggling a dead fish at the pumps of a PetroCanada gas station.

It could only happen to me:

We had driven down to Victoria, and on the way back we stopped for gas. As I was fuelling up, Hubby’s uncle drove in beside me. That was an unlikely coincidence, since neither of us lives close to that PetroCanada station.  Also coincidentally, he was returning from a fishing trip.

“Hey, I’ve got a fish for you,” said he. “Do you want it now?”

Ordinarily I would have declined, since I have no way of carrying a gutted and beheaded fish home in my car without causing grievous harm to upholstery and equanimity.  But (another coincidence) I had taken a load of vegetables down to inflict on share with our friends, so I had a large empty cooler with ice packs.  I also happened to have a plastic bag, so I could put the fish in the bag and tuck it tidily into the cooler. Easy-peasy, right?

Not even close.

Hubby’s uncle was on his way to the ferry and I didn’t want to delay him, so I hustled his catch-bag over to where Hubby had helpfully opened our cooler.  I grabbed my plastic bag with one hand.  I grabbed the salmon with the other.

You’d think that very little could go wrong in the few inches between fish and bag; but you’d be oh-so-sadly mistaken. Freshly dead salmon are slippery. I had grabbed it just above the tail, and (being fish-shaped and all) it tapered considerably at that point.

That fish shot out of my grip like it was jet-propelled.

I made a panicked grab for it, which accomplished nothing except to add a tumble to its trajectory. Fish-slime flew in all directions, splattering my shirt, face, and sunglasses.  The fish did a belly-flop into our cooler, where it spitefully rubbed its dead self all over the ice packs and the inside of the cooler.

And there I stood in the middle of the PetroCanada station:  be-slimed and befuddled, with the empty plastic bag dangling impotently from my hand.

Then came a short ridiculous scene in which I juggled the frictionless fish a couple more times before finally cramming it into the bag.  (Don’t ask me why putting the fish in the bag still seemed important, since the cooler and ice packs were already thoroughly slimed.  By then I wasn’t thinking straight due to a severe case of the giggles.)

I scuttled into the station to wash my hands and clean my sunglasses, then hurried back to the car and drove away without looking around to see how many people had witnessed the debacle.  I didn’t hear anybody laughing; but I wasn’t listening too closely, either.

I did manage to get the salmon filleted and into our freezer without further mishap, and soon we’ll eat the evidence.

But I might not go back to that gas station for a while…

Book 15 update:  I’m back in action after last week’s hiatus, and looking forward to a good writing week!

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It’s Like Fishing, But Without The Beer

The Christmas shopping frenzy is upon us, and I’m observing the usual gender division.  The women are out in the malls snagging the perfect gift for everyone.  The men are at home watching TV and telling themselves they have lots of time.

On Christmas Eve the tables will turn, and throngs of empty-eyed men will wander the mall ten minutes before closing, reeking of desperation and despair.

And at midnight outside a convenience store, two men will wrestle over the last pine-scented air freshener because it’s Christmas-tree-shaped and therefore vaguely appropriate as a Christmas gift, and they will ask themselves, “Why do women do this?”

Well, it’s like fishing.

If you’re starving and you have to catch a fish in order to survive, it’s not fun; it’s work.

But if you’re fishing for the fun of it, there’s no greater joy than being out on the lake just tossing in your line.  You might not catch anything; you might catch and release; you might catch a tasty fish you’ll enjoy for supper that evening; or you might catch the biggest Holy-Shit-Look-At-The-Size-Of-That-Mother trophy fish of all time.

It doesn’t really matter.  It’s all about the process.  And the bragging rights.  And your buddies.  And the beer.

Some guys would happily go fishing every day, even though their freezer is full and they’ll probably end up throwing away some of the fish.  Some women would happily go shopping every day, even though their closet is full and the clothes will probably be out of style before they get around to wearing them.

Recreational shopping is extremely similar to the actual process of fishing.  We cruise the mall, dipping into the places where our quarry is most likely to lurk.  But sometimes the shopping gods turn their backs, and there’s nothing worth buying despite our skill and patience (no catch).

Other times, we reel in lovely things that are perfect in every way, but we don’t buy (catch and release).

Sometimes, we choose to take that tasty item home.

And every now and then, we score the most amazing deeply-discounted, absolutely perfect article that will be discussed with awe among our peers forever more.  The great grandmammy of bargains.  The holy grail.

Like fishing, there’s much discussion of the one that got away.  Right size, right price, wrong colour.  Screaming deal, sublime colour, wrong size.  The almost-perfection of the item increases with each telling, inspiring heartfelt commiseration from our buddies.

Here’s where the comparison begins to break down for me, though.  Most women are just as happy in a crowded mall as most guys are out on the lake.  I’m not.  The act of shopping simply isn’t rewarding enough for me to put up with a crowd.  I’ll pay for an item or I’ll engage in a fistfight for the item, but I refuse to do both.  I suspect most guys feel the same.

But that problem could be easily solved.

What malls really need is beer.  A mall-wide liquor permit, so you could wander around with a cold one in your hand.  They could set up beer-and-snack kiosks here and there, and put nice little stands next to the changing rooms so you could put your beer down without fear of spillage when you went in to try on clothes.

With a reward like that, I bet even the guys would shop early and often.

Am I right?

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