I got this abalone shell at a garage sale in Michigan. The sellers were getting rid of stuff they said they didn’t need, and at the time I thought, “How can you not need an abalone shell?”
It was at this house at a top of a slope, and they had a pool that they drained and just filled with wood chips. It was far easier to maintain that way, they said. I think it was around two pm or so and they’d already started drinking. They seemed nice enough.
But of course now I know that yes, you can not need an abalone shell.
For me at the time — I might have still been a teenager, maybe twenty, it represented so many things: far away places, oceans, mysterious creatures. Shininess, not the dreariness of studying econometrics under the gray skies of Michigan.