By Sophie Becker
Lobster Tail pt.1
I owe my place at SCA to a lobster.
It all made sense at the time. I’d thought for weeks about what I’d do at my interview day, all the while panicking that I was lying to myself, wasn’t creative and had nothing interesting to say for four minutes.
I genuinely think that interview presentation was the hardest brief I’ve ever been set at SCA. Apart from the “paint your personality on a mug”. That was the most anxiety-inducing.
But one day, I awoke with a stroke of genius (not sure genius is the right word, but it was definitely a stroke of something). I had to dress in my signature lobster costume. I just had to. No matter what happened in those four minutes, it was going to involve a lobster.
I’d dress as a lobster, tell an embarrassing story involving me dressed as a lobster, then for the grand finale I’d unveil a pet lobster as a present for the school. Whole lotta lobster.
In retrospect I’d possibly spent a few too many days on my own, freaking out about SCA and seriously losing my grip on reality.
A few days before I’d fine-tuned my embarrassing story, making sure it was worthy of telling. I’d dragged my hand stitched (yes I’m that lame) lobster costume out of the cupboard. All that was left was the lobster itself.
Wrong. When I started to do a bit of research, it turned out I couldn’t just plonk any old lobster in a tank and give it to the school.
Firstly, most lobsters live in the ocean meaning they need cold salt water to survive. Room temperature tap water would result in a very dead lobster, and subsequently a very rejected me. This lobster had to survive.
After some more digging, I discovered that there’s one species of lobster that lives in fresh water (i.e. room temperature and unsalted) and that was the blue lobster. Electric blue and small enough for a fish tank.
That was another problem, the tank. Tanks are expensive. Especially ones big enough to house a lobster. I had minimal funds.
Gumtree had the answer. A mile away someone was looking to part with their perfectly functional tank for free if only someone was willing to come and pick it up. That (very car-less) someone was me. Thus began a series of painful, lobster-tank laden journeys.
So once the tank was in tact, all I had to do was find the blue lobster and get it to school. Again, this wasn’t the easiest. You can’t get these from any old pet shop. They’re only sold at tropical aquatic shops, and there’s just a handful of these in London.
I called them all. I located only one at a shop in Bethnal Green called “Wholesale Tropicals UK”. They reserved it for me and the next day I went over there with tank on the tube.
I thought I’d be in and out. Pay the £7.50 for the lobster, go home.
The moment I walked in the door and proclaimed myself the lobster girl, I was grilled intensely about my knowledge of fish care. “How many fish have you owned?” “What do you know of water PH regulation?” “What sort of oxygen filtration system do you plan to use?” “Do you know how to handle a code red lobster escape?” The list was endless and hard as I tried to bullshit, I could tell this very red faced man was not convinced.
There was no way I was admitting that I was essentially just using this lobster as a prop.
After a good hour of interrogation, it was past closing time. The man’s wife came up to him and begged him to just sell me the damn lobster so they could go home and eat dinner. So he begrudgingly led me to where it was kept.
“Aaaaand here it is”
He pointed to what looked like an empty tank.
“There’s nothing in there” I said.
I was wrong. There was a lobster in there. The lobster was the size of a two pound coin and a grey-ish hue. It was a baby. So much for my vision of unveiling an impressively sized electric blue crustacean.
He reassured me it’d be big, blue and beautiful within 6 months. But I needed it to be big, beautiful and blue for the next day.
It was the best I could do. So he put the little grey whatsit in a little baggy and sent me on my way. There was no way I was getting the tube with a lobster, so an Uber was my only option from now on.
After a while spent getting the water to the right temperature and PH, and the filtration system going at full throttle, I released the lobster into its tank and watched it float down to it’s new pebbly home. All the while dressed in my lobster costume, I’d like to add.
My housemates were horrified when they came home to find this bizarre creature sitting in the kitchen. We crowded around the tank for hours watching the lobster go about it’s business, quite clearly terrified of us all.
We tried to feed it some special crustacean pellets. But it wasn’t having any of it.
I went to bed and prayed it would survive the night. My worst fear was unveiling a dead lobster at selection day. Without the lobster, none of it would work.
Over the course of the 18 hours the lobster spent in our house, my housemates became quite attached to it. We named her “Marina Crustacea”. It was definitely a “she”.
I almost cried with relief when I went downstairs the next morning to find Marina flexing her pincers. She lived!
Now to get her to SCA.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this lobster tail.
The copy scores 80.6 in the Flesch Reading Ease test