It’s dense where I live, in the middle of Boston. We can get pretty much anything we need within a 10-minute walk. The exception is fish: good seafood is hard to come by in our neighborhood. So we get a weekly fish delivery from a service called Evergreen, whose employees tool around the city on bicycle-drawn carts. The urban density is key: Evergreen has enough customers in a bike-friendly radius to make this a sensible business model.
We are endlessly grateful for this service, because it is both adorable and convenient, and also because we really like fish. As you surely know, fish consumption is correlated with lower blood pressure, greater mental acuity, improved fashion sense, and higher incomes. Our subscription is for what used to be known as “scrod” (which, I recently learned, stands for “sea captain’s recommendation of the day.”). Each week, they send us a pound of whatever is relatively plentiful. It’s always super-fresh and very local, and the potluck aspect is pretty fun. Our very favorite is Any Fish That is Not Pollock.
Usually the fish delivery guy sends a text when he leaves the package at the door, replete with multiple fish emojis. He can do this because our phones have a very high density of fish emojis.
Occasionally, as he did last Tuesday, he will send a picture of the bag of fish he’s left on our doorstep.
This particular week, the text reached me when I happened to be out of the house for a few hours. When I got back, here is what I found:
There are a couple of possible explanations for the absence of the fish:
- Urban fauna: I would put nothing past a squirrel or a bunny, or perhaps the two working in concert. Of course, there are also rats, who have taken the place of the raccoons who regularly raided our trash when we lived in the suburbs. Actually, the rats are an upgrade. Raccoons are gratuitously malicious: they used to rip up my garden for the sheer joy of it. Rats make a mess and spread disease and all that; but you know that all they’re after is just after a good meal. I respect that.
- Thoughtful neighbors: We are fortunate to have a high density of very kind, community-minded neighbors. Maybe one of them spotted the fish and grew concerned about its sitting out of refrigeration for an extended period (despite the ice pack and the forty-degree weather), so they took it inside and put it in their freezer for us. And then forgot! But will surely remember next time we run into each other, or perhaps they will deliver it cooked, piping hot, to our front door, right at dinnertime, some night very soon.
Thank you, thoughtful neighbor! Or not-so-thoughtful neighbor.
It is my belief that the percentage of humans likely to behave badly in any given situation is both relatively small and relatively well-distributed throughout the population. So living with a high density of other humans, as we now do, means both that we are likely to be surrounded by a lot of pretty wonderful people (definitely true) and also that we have a good chance of running into some who are, from time to time, less than stellar.
I have this message to whoever nicked my fish: I hope you enjoyed the pollock! If you’ve stumbled upon a way to cook it that makes it actually taste good, then please do send the recipe my way. Shouldn’t be a problem: after all, you know where I live.
But if you do drop off any recipes, maybe slide them through the mail slot. Just to be on the safe side.