I was standing in my driveway at some point last weekend chatting aimlessly with a friend when she asked, quite suddenly and with considerable excitement, "Have you seen him??"
"Seen who??" (I should have said "whom," but who talks like that??)
"The yellow lobster," my friend replied.
I had no idea what she was talking about, but apparently someone's capture of a yellow lobster had been featured on the front page of that morning's ProJo. The lobster was here in Newport: "at the wharf," according to my friend. So, of course, as time allowed — between parties, house guests (Super Son and a dozen-or-so college buddies), Folk Festival happenings and the like — I wandered down to check it out.
My first stop was Aquidneck Lobster, at the end of Bowen's Wharf. No luck, though there were plenty of lobster and plenty of onlookers ogling the lobster, as usual. It is pretty compelling, or maybe just sad, to watch them all scrambling over one another in that shallow, bubbling pool ... but I dragged myself away and continued on to the fish pier (mmmm, can you smell it??) at the end of Long Wharf. Perhaps there.
As I approached the sales hut, alongside the left-most dock at the edge of the parking lot, a smiling young man behind the counter nodded, as if he were expecting me, then turned to fish the famous lobster out of a tank. He was a cute little guy — the lobster, that is — though, I have to say, he's not very yellow. More of a blue-green with yellow trim. Maybe I didn't look at him from the best angle, though I did try various angles and degrees of closeness. I even looked him right in the eye, as if that was going to prove anything. I'm guessing there's some percentage of yellowness that qualifies a "yellow lobster" — I don't mean to call anyone or anything into question — but, really, I saw more yellow on the lobster (in the form of those reassuringly-wide rubber bands) and around him (in the form of lobster pots and lobster traps with coincidentally-yellow hatchways) than I did on the shell itself.
And the legend has spread!! Yesterday, I heard on the radio — WMVY, who happens to have a lobster logo — that the yellow lobster is going to college. Seriously, he's been admitted to the aquarium at URI. That certainly beats the alternative. Lucky kid, this yellow lobster. His chances (how does anyone calculate such things??) were one in 30 million.
Meanwhile, back at the fish pier, no sooner had the friendly kid behind the counter put the lucky lobster back in the pool than a couple walked up behind me and asked, "Can we see him??"
[Written weeks later: Click here for more on the same tale/tail ... ]