Koi like to eat stale baguette. They open their mouths wide like babies, and swim tail to mouth like designs on Chinese dinner plates. When they are hungry, koi come to the top of the water and stare accusingly, exposing their heads and shoulders like land sharks in comedy skits. The big ones are aggressive. The little ones shelter in pond fronds, because koi eat their babies.
It’s a jungle out there. Or a pond. I have been observing the behavior of koi lately, because Kim has a decorative wading pool close to her house and when she’s away I feed them. And I never do anything new without asking a million questions and eventually (when I have literally and figuratively exhausted the askee), going to Google to get the answers I seek. In fact I asked so many annoying questions about Puerto Rican flora and fauna the last time I was there with Kim and Claudio, Claudio said, “There’s an app for that.” I’ve decided I’d like those words on my tombstone…
Anyway, koi are not social fish. They do not school. They only seem that way (when they are not devouring their offspring) because they are in a small enclosure. In the wild, when they reach a certain size, they began to isolate or swim with a couple of friends.
You may wonder where I am going with this.
My friend Tony said to me yesterday, “I realized that not speaking in a 12-Step meeting is a form of isolating.” I have been chewing on that like a koi with a hunk of bread. I am a skittish attendee of meetings to begin with, and the forum to speak is a gold-star-good-kid-in-school hand raise and a monologue, which is not my strong suit. I like one-on-one dialogue. I like witty repartee. I like to swim with the big fish and isolate…
You are going to hate me for this metaphor, but I am like a koi out of water in a yard pool (collective groan?). Isn’t it enough that I turn up to meetings? That I am sober? Now I have to talk too?
The Fish Channel.com says, “When koi act in an unusual manner you can assume something is wrong.” Amen. When I get nervous, and awkward and do not want to speak, I isolate. I don’t turn up. There has to be room in the rooms for the introvert, the person outside of her natural habitat, to participate. It has to be okay to sit silently until one wants or needs to speak. Otherwise where else will we go?
I suppose there’s an app for that.
Today I’m not drinking because sobriety is my natural habitat…
How come you’re not drinking?