There are so many childhood staples you no longer have license to experience the same way. Trick-or-treating through the rich neighborhoods. Whizzing through Walmart in a shopping cart. Feeling happiness in general.
Now you’re old enough to know better. You understand that “fun” that causes harm can’t be “fun” anymore because you’ve been introduced to the concept of guilt. Zoos, for example, aren’t kingdoms of cheery, fluffy animals; they’re metal prison yards of wild beasts that would maul you without a second thought if they weren’t doped up to the eyeballs.
So, a couple weeks ago when my good friend decided she wanted a day trip to the San Antonio Zoo as her birthday celebration, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel. I obviously would spend the day with her however she wanted, but I decided to bring up my misgivings.
Zoo Friend: I’m SO excited for the zoo!
Me: Yup. Okay.
Zoo Friend had planned to pick the four of us up at 7AM, meaning we left at 9. Because the drive from Austin to San Antonio is around an hour, I assumed our local Austin zoo was lacking in critical respects. (Surely, I thought, someone had informed her there was a zoo in Austin, but maybe that’s what we’d all assumed and we were just driving out of the city because nothing matters anyway.)
Upon entering, I looked around and saw only families, as expected. It was “Zoo Boo,” so kids were milling about in their Halloween costumes. I felt like one of those overgrown trick-or-treaters in the news, except probably no one thought we looked threatening. To describe our group without listing physical attributes, I’d use “looks really good at running away.”
We entered a mini aquarium, and as we looped through the halls, I began to remember why I used to love the zoo, too. Skimming the species descriptions. Glancing at the animal mugshot, locating the perp in the corner of the glass enclosure. Taking trash nature photography. Something about zoos—possibly the sense of accomplishment from discovery, which one can achieve by having eyes—just makes you want to take photos you’ll never look at again. Here are just a few gems.
On multiple occasions, I had to actively remind myself to be present and mindful that I didn’t trample a knee-high sea of children in my struggle for a good view of the wildlife.
Seeing all the sedated animals (and one tank of a single, dead baby jellyfish) bothered me less when I learned the zoo acted as more of a conservation and rehabilitation center. I genuinely enjoyed the day, and, more importantly, so did Zoo Friend. We watched ZF flash her membership card—this girl is a member of a zoo in a city she doesn’t live in—and shared her funnel cake so we’d all get fat instead of just for, which functions as both a diet tip and the most realistic definition of friendship I’ve heard to date.
We entered the lorikeet space to feed “lorikeet milk” to the birds. Of course they all landed on ZF, the bird whisperer. I coaxed one to land onto my finger.
Me: Yes. Love me.
Lorikeet: *hops off real quick*
I wasn’t bothered at all. But if I had, I would’ve been bothered even less when I turned and saw a different lorikeet pee generously onto the sleeve of Friend 2’s wooly sweater. I accompanied Friend 2 to the bathroom to wash off the urine.
As I stood, squished, between the paper towel dispenser and sink, I reflected. I reflected that maybe there are things you can’t ever go through like you had before, but you find company to help you reimagine the good times. And I reflected on the sage saying, it’s never a good time until someone gets peed on.
Possibly I’d made that up—doesn’t make it less true.
New news! I’m creating a separate Instagram solely for my blog at nicolesundaysblog!
Also, I decided my goal is to have this humor blog show up when you search “funny blogs to read when bored and on the toilet.” I will also accept “popular personal blogs to read,” “sarcastic blogs about life,” or “best personal blog sites that waste your time.” Thus, I’m including all of these phrases at the bottom of every post until at least one comes true.
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