Have you ever been at a dinner party, or a team building day and for some reason, someone pipes up and asks you the question – “if you were an animal, what would you be?” This is not a question I’ve ever been able to answer. At least not properly. My response is usually something along the lines of “Well, I like elephants. They’re pretty cool. I guess I could be one of those”. But this week, everything changed. I have met my animal, and felt a solidarity I never expected. The animal? A penguin. A fairy penguin to be exact.
While holidaying in Melbourne with one of the most fabulous women around, we squeezed in a bit of time to head south to Phillip Island and see the penguin parade. We were more than a little bit excited. Indeed, I believe the phrase “Penguins, Bitches!!” was thrown around rather excessively. Mostly by me.
As we sat at dusk in the freezing cold on the southern coast of Australia, little penguins began to emerge from the ocean. And they were pretty bloody cute. As we watched the penguins emerge in groups, we began to notice a pattern. In each group there was always one penguin who was a little bit slower to clamber out of the ocean. They’d stumble, they’d stagger, they’d keep getting nailed by the waves and get dragged back out into the ocean. But the other penguins would wait patiently for them before moving into their nests, which according to our Finish guide, is where the party really begins.
While watching all of this the startling truth suddenly dawned on me – I am that penguin. I am an unco fairy penguin.
Efficient and skilled in some contexts, even prone to occasional grace. But not in all. Especially not when it comes to handling hot liquids, walking on wet surfaces or confronting feelings about boys. But fortunately for the Anneguine, her posse always waits patiently for her and love her anyway. And hopefully, from time to time, outsiders may even think of her as being at least half as cute as a fairy penguin.
I should probably also confess that I may have bought a stuffed penguin, crocheted it a frock and bandaged its flipper. A bit weird? Yes. But she is my buxom penguin mascot, and I love her.