An Interview with a Seal Named Po: “Sometimes you Gotta Swim and Sometimes you Gotta Float”
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28 May, 2019
text by VAIDA KALKAUSKAITE
photos by JULIJA TAMULEVICIUTE
It‘s a sunny Tuesday morning and I‘m strolling by the sea, about to meet someone very special. My team has been trying to arrange this interview for weeks but we didn‘t manage to tune our schedules with the low tide so it took us a while to put everything together. Days like this make you remember, why you chose to become a writer and a journalist in the first place.
My interviewee is already waiting for me by the lighthouse and seems absolutely delighted to see me. We sit down by the shore and enjoy a chic breakfast that contains a bucket of fish and a vegan burrito. It‘s the first time I get to interview a majestic sea creature and my heart skips a bit every time I realize I‘m about to talk to an actual seal whose name happens to be Po which, in my opinion (I didn‘t dare to ask) is short for Poseidon.
Thank you for agreeing to talk to me here, Po. There‘s so much I wanna discuss. First of all, what is the sea life like right now?
Oh, you know, the usual. We live our lives, we migrate, make friends, create families. It‘s been the same for... well... centuries. Millenniums, maybe.
And humans? What do you think about our species?
Humans... Well. Nothing personal, but you guys are kind of weird. You seem to be great fans of complicating simple things. I mean, creating problems and then trying to fix them. You build cities that swallow you whole, then try to make money to be able to get away from them twice a year. Money is the strangest thing about your life. Do you guys even remember that you created it? It‘s not natural to trade things for pieces of paper. You‘d get nothing for them here in the sea. So, you guys are funny. But really adorable. Whenever we come near the shore, you wanna touch us, cuddle us, play with us. Even now. Me, myself… I’m probably twice as old as you. But I can see that you think I’m terribly cute. Which is nice. Also, you have some nice stuff too. Music, movies...
Movies? You know movies?
No, we‘re stuck in the Middle Ages. Of course we know movie! I recently watched Aquaman. Did you see it?
I did. I liked it. What did you think?
It was a big hit among seals and sea lions. We‘re really into Jason Momoa. He‘s a living proof that you can he really big and really adorable at the same time.
What did you think?
You see, battles in the sea are no news for us. They have nothing to do with Atlantis or estranged kings. And the enemy is not a gigantic angry creature feeding on helpless people at the bottom of the Ocean. The enemy is inanimate and as mundane as it gets – plastic. Plastic, oil spills... Our enemies don‘t have magical tridents. They have bottles, boxes and greed. They pollute our home and treat their own home like shit. Our enemy is also its own enemy.
How did human irresponsibility affect you personally?
Well, us, seals, feed on small fish, plankton, etc... The ice loss that the climate change creates, causes the fact that there is less space for the plankton, algae, and krill to make a living, so we‘re losing food. That‘s one thing. The other is that we recently lost a dear friend from Philippines. He was a marvelous whale who swallowed 40 kilos of plastic and died of something the humans call gastric shock. We were devastated. He was a marvelous dude, very smart. He just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
I’m so sorry…
Yeah, me too. I don’t know why but humans keep wanting to have everything. Own everything. I can’t even talk about all the relatives who were taken to museums and circuses. It breaks my heart. We trust you because we trust each other. That’s what we do as inhabitants of the Earth. And yes, we eat fish and bigger fish eat us. But we never destroy each other for ambition or hatred.
What do you think humans should learn from you, sea creatures?
Kindness. Cooperation. Basic understanding that the world you live in doesn’t belong to you. It’s not your oyster. You’re not the pearl. You come and you go. Leave something nice after yourself and look for balance. Take time to look up to the sky. Be grateful. Sometimes you gotta swim and sometimes you gotta float. And now… I gotta go.
Thank You for your time, Po. It was amazing to talk to you!
De nada. You too. Have a nice summer!
My interviewee waves to me and dives into the ocean. I stare at the ripples he leaves after himself and think about the ripples we leave after ourselves when we dive into whatever we dive into. Yeah, this day really made me remember, why I chose to become a writer and a journalist in the first place. Sometimes you gotta swim. And sometimes you gotta float.