I wrote a piece last year for Urban Pie in regards to a unicorn spotting in Vancouver. More to the point, it was in regards to how we miss things that are fantastical because we are plugged into our phones, iPods, and so on. It’s a shame since we often times miss really cool things around us, and go through life thinking that these things don’t really happen because we don’t see them personally, because we aren’t paying attention.
Of course, as soon as I made THAT statement all the fantastical came out of the woodwork. I imagine as much to simply contradict me and make me look silly. But ever since last summer and my prolonged bike rides around the city I’ve been noticing not unicorns but another supposed mythological creature settling into the city. Mermaids have been growing in population in a slow increase since summer 2011. Like so many other Vancouverites, they have formed communities around the city and now even have their own area-specific demographics, much like the rest of us.
These mermaids had a little bit of trouble keeping a low profile after the whole 2010 games in False Creek due to the Olympic Village housed on the south side. They often can be heard, tapping the underside of aqua buses and boats in the various marinas. This is often chalked up to asshole otters when it’s actually just asshole mermaids. Between 86 – 10 (bookended between Expo and the Olympics) the growing mermaid population watched the dynamic of False Creek shift and change. While it was no longer a backwater dump for the industrial set, it was now a highly picturesque area to live in and could be the trendy envy of all other mermaids in the waters around the city. Mermaids in this area often time swim with their small dogfish (only designer breeds) along the seawall, hoping that a chihuahua falls in that they can feed to their dogfish as treats. Other times they frequently turn small children and tourists at Granville Island into liars by appearing to their subjects, only to disappear again when they have friends/parents/lovers dragged away from feeding seagulls artisan muffins. Other times they just like to trip out any Emily Carr students who might have done a teeny bit of acid during lunch. Like I said, utter assholes.
Photo by Frankie Panky. Wait why does that mermaid have legs? Because: fuck you.
Mostly known for being the most showy mermaids, we can only assume they have been emulating what they see from human culture. While mermaids swimming near the shores of Kits would see scores of women wearing Lululemon (while holding a Starbucks cup and not actually doing any yoga) these are slightly more avante guard. Often bringing themselves up onto the beach during Pride or the Large Corperate Fireworks Display events, they have more often than not found themselves making new human friends (by introduction of alcohol-soaked tongue probed into their mouths). These mermaids exist in plain sight and are thought to be humans in elaborate costume or drag. They have also been known to be brought up out of the water by the opportunity to pelt cyclists and joggers by Stanley Park with kelp and seashells, often times creating pedestrian/cyclist collisions, much to their amusements. Jerks.
Actually taken in the basement of Celebrities. Awesome.
Wreck Beach, being a clothing optional beach is awesome. Many people go for the optional part of the phrase, choosing interesting and unique takes on this. For example the “Donald Duck” is a popular look wherein the subject will wear sandals or go barefoot, wear a shirt, possibly a hat and no pants. Totally makes sense. So it totally makes as much sense to see mermaids lounging on Wreck. Often lured to the shore by the heavy dustup coming from the boats moored just out of the swim line or a flotilla, they go one further by joining their human counterparts. Sometimes even passing reefers. The Wreck Beach mermaids get away with LOTS due to the fact most people are slightly drunk, high on mushrooms or suffering sunstroke from lack of pants to notice that a mermaid has dragged herself up onto the shore and is helping herself to the contents of your picnic hamper. People only truly notice when they see the beer is all gone, then they blame their visitors from Australia they brought to Wreck. I’ve seen it go down. Shit gets ugly.
See? Totally harmless… not casing your cooler AT ALL…
Probably the least social of all the groups. If I had seems them snatching knock-off Fendi purses off of guests at the Loden or Shangri-La Hotel, I’d not know they exist. But this elusive, exclusive group only show themselves at high end events and occasions. So much to the point I can actually locate a photo because no one could get the underwater camera at the Vancouver Club to work. I’m assured that you can attract them up to the surface, like all mermaids. You just need to pour the contents of a high end cocktail into the Burrard Inlet and splash the water with keys to a Lexus to attract their attention.
Before any of you accuse me of being mermaidist, just note that these are my opinions and experiences seeing these creatures in the wild. There could be a great deal that I haven’t seen yet in their behaviour. I’d further research it, but Dr. Suzuki assures me that if the Enbridge shit goes through and we get that tanker traffic, they’ll all be dead in five years anyways.
Hopefully, the unicorns get a better deal.
Little Miss Risk