For a good long stretch, when the girls were little, Finding Nemo was in the DVD 24/7 and quickly became the Annie Hall of my 30s — it seemed as though I couldn’t go a day without quoting Marlin the Clownfish or Bruce the Great White, who belly-belted the titular line of this post (you recognized it, right?) before attempting to gobble up Marlin and the lovably loopy Dory. It’s nearly impossible for me to watch a Pixar movie (particularly Nemo, Monsters Inc and The Incredibles) without asking myself at the end What am I doing with my life? And why can’t I be John Lasseter?
In the meantime I can be content with the fact that Pixar and Nemo and Co launched an underwater obsession with Phoebe that still lasts to this day. She’s been to a half dozen aquariums up and down the Atlantic coast and once even emptied her piggy bank to donate to a favorite, the South Carolina Aquarium. “Please use this money to help take care of your sharks,” she wrote to the director. The letter she received back, acknowledging the $30 donation for tax purposes, still hangs on her bulletin board.
For now, though, all her love for sea life seems to be translating to consumption as opposed to conservation — give her time…she’s seen Wall-E once and was only six. One of her favorite activities is going to a seafood market and picking out a new kind of fish to try. Last weekend, while we were staying at my sister’s beach house, we went to her idea of Disneyland: A Long Island seafood purveyor who might as well have reeled in the catch right to our shopping bag, it was so fresh. (That view of the bay up there is the store’s “backyard.”) With a little encouragement to go local — easy at a place like this — Phoebe pointed at the soft-shell crabs and two dozen lovely little Little Necks, which she and Andy cleaned and prepared together back at the house. (more…)