Monday, September 19, 2005

Enjoy Sea Anemone

was on the Central Line on my way to a gig on Friday night and there was this woman sitting across from me with a see-through flask of something.

It looked a bit a piece of scientific; it had measurement marks down the side and a top a bit like a baby’s beaker. Swilling inside the flask, in brown water, was what looked like a sea anemone. The ‘tentacles’ rolled as the train lurched and there were small, pale, bunched up things that looked like nerve endings or the interior of a snails shell on what I presumed was the ‘under-side’ of this commuting sea creature.

Now I’ve had some strange pets in my life, when I was in the infants at primary school I took my pet rock into school until one of the many bullies there threw it against some concrete, smashing it open to reveal its crystalline interior. After that I had a pet Dog Skull that I tired to carry around during a ‘music and dancing’ lesson until the, probably deeply freaked out, teacher suggested I put the dog skull down in case I break it.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is humanity’s taste in non-human companionship is as wide and deep at the ocean that this little thing may had been plucked from and if this woman sitting across from me wanted to take her pet anemone out for a trip on the tube, so long as the container was suitable for a sea-anemone, then that was fine by me.

Then she took a swig out of the flask. Sea-anemones are poisonous; they trap fish in the tentacles and sting them into submission before ingesting them. The only creature that can put up with them is the sinister clown-fish that can quite happily frolic among these tentacled killers.

She kept swigging the brown water, the narrow mouth piece of the beaker preventing the whole ball of feelers touching her. I kept staring, wondering if she were mad, suicidal, super-human or something other than human.

It really was a horror story moment, probably partly provoked by my re-reading of the 'Pan Book of Horror Stories Seven' at the moment, and when I saw this creature-ingesting woman getting ready to get off the tube, full of anemone venom and probaly a little freaked out by my staring at her I plucked up the courage to ask her what the heck was in her flask.

“Green tea” she said, “it is a bit unusual.”

Now I drink green tea a bit and it certainly doesn’t look like sea creatures. Clare thinks this person was consuming Chinese Medicine tea, she’s shared houses with people who’ve used it in the past, which may well include lion fish, angler fish, sturgeons, sea anemones or something else.

Or perhaps I’d seen something on the tube that wasn’t one of us, something that feeds in ways that we don’t feed and expects the humans around it to pay it no attention. I saw it and it had an excuse ready for its strange habits before skuttling off to be with it's own kind (Bond Street Station). That’s what I like to think, anyway.


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