Touching Another World – Puffy the Octopus
“I’m going to see Puffy” was a common phrase during the covid-19 lockdown in Tahiti.
I kissed Brian goodbye and stepped out of the boat and into the glaring sunlight. My body felt asleep after binge-watching television. I wandered the quiet docks looking in the crystalline water. The few dozen people here may have thought my behavior was a little odd. A couple of them have shown interest in Puffy, though.
I love to see and chat with people on the dock, but pointing Puffy out to passersby doesn’t usually go well. As soon as a new face appears over the dock Puffy camouflages himself and crawls behind a clump of algae.
The person I’m pointing him out to is like “Oh yeah, cool!” as I gesture enthusiastically.
Then I say “look, he changed color”.
And they say “Wait, where is he again?”
Puffy is extremely hard to spot when he doesn’t want you to see him.
But I learned to find Puffy, and seeing him always perked me up. He would do something interesting, I would get amazing media or not (he moves very quickly) and my day felt a little more fun.
He gets bolder and now sometimes tries to crawl out of the water to get a better look at me. I feel thrilled he is interested in getting closer to me. The fish here never seem to care about me visiting them. I’m just a shadow to flee from, and they never change their behavior. Puffy’s behavior has evolved significantly from when I first started seeing him around April 18. He would hide and flee just like a fish back then.
Yesterday was exciting – Puffy reached out and almost touched me.
The image of one skinny, white tentacle reaching out very slowly to my fingertips while Puffy lay flat against the dock beneath me, is burned into my memory.
I’ve started keeping a “Puffy Log” of our daily interactions. It’s sloppy and in-the-moment but you can read it if you desire.
I think our first touch may happen soon. I’ll be sure to report if/when it does. 🙂 And don’t worry, I’ll not be forceful with Puffy, I’ll let him reach out and we’ll see what happens.
Here’s my latest video about Puffy: