Goldfish Memory

So, I’m driving to work and listening to the TED Radio Hour podcast “To the Edge.” I hear the phrase “goldfish memory.” I don’t think he really said that, but that’s what my brain heard. The poet-me liked the phrase, though. Is it memory of being a goldfish? Is it what goldfish remember? Then I got to work and my mind took the idea and ran: The same route to work; the same route home. Replenish food. Same route home; same route to work. Tuesdays go to tutoring, then writing group, then the same route home. Go to the library and get new books. Go to work, go home, read, write, go to bed. Swim by the bubbling treasure chest. Repeat.

I replayed the podcast (which was a 2013 repeat!!), but never heard any words that came close to “goldfish memory.” Where did it come from?  A google search shows the fish actually have about twelve days of memory and there’s an Irish film of the same name.

I change jobs sort of frequently, but it’s the same kind of work with laptop, meetings, spreadsheets, email and calendar. Walk down the cubicle row. Is it different if the cube is big and has a window? Geez, I’m going to cry.

Before this moment, when I’d think of a goldfish, I’d think of people staring at someone while they worked, i.e., being in a goldfish bowl. However, the goldfish has no awareness of someone staring at her. Most people, though, want to be noticed and have attention (within their control). Think the glass house in Connecticut. The difference is tautological. The goldfish cannot get out of the bowl. It doesn’t even know it’s in a bowl, in water. “What’s water?” it might even say.

“Sure, I’d wanted to get outside of my comfort zone, but what I’d sort of failed to notice is that getting out of your comfort zone is by definition extremely uncomfortable.”Roz Savage, rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. TED Radio Hour Podcast – To the Edge



One comment

  1. Wilhemina the Dense

    Bubble, bubble-i I think we had a cubicle at INDATA we actually called the goldfish bowl? I’ve been looking outside my bowl lately, but then I run back and hide by the treasure chest.

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