I drove to Seattle today to meet up with my mom and play for the weekend. This evening, we had dinner with some old friends of both of my parents – he was a resident with my dad here in Seattle and they have kids around the same age as my brother and I. On the way over to their house, my mom asked me if I remembered going there as a kid to visit. I told her a few random memories I had of playing with their girls and exploring Seattle, and also told her the following story, which I’ve decided to recount here for all to enjoy.
Once, when I was about 6 and my family came to Seattle to visit, one of the girls, Claire, who is a few years my senior, had just gotten some pet fish. She was very excited to show them to me and rushed upstairs to point them out and tell me their names. Then she looked at her dad and asked if she could feed them, to show me what they looked like when they ate. I was moderately interested in the fish, but in fact more focused on whatever Claire thought was cool, since she was older than I was. She thought the fish were cool, so I thought they were the most fascinating things I’d ever seen.
Anyway, her dad said that she didn’t get to feed them today, since she fed them yesterday and they only needed food every other day. In my entire 6 years of being, I had never heard someone use that phrase, “every other day.” So I took him literally. I actually thought that Claire fed her fish every single day but this particular one. Every OTHER day but today. And I was pissed. I looked at her dad, assuming he was maliciously not allowing me to see these incredible creatures feed. He had chosen today, of all days, to invite my family into his house, knowing I wouldn’t be granted the only satisfaction I would crave. I thought to myself, Why did we come here TODAY?!
But he didn’t look like a mean person. So I went to my dad and asked him why his friend wouldn’t let me watch the fish eat. And my dad patiently explained what it meant to do something every other day, never knowing the definition I had made up on my own. And I’m not sure, but I’m willing to bet that by the time he had finished explaining the term, I’d already moved on to whatever cool thing Claire was doing at that moment.