Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sometimes I go outside, but generally only on my way to other covered buildings

So the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is awesome. For a zoo. What I mean by that is that the zoo is free on Mondays to people who live in the county, to reward them for living in Cuyahoga County and having asthma since birth. Also apparently Hinckley Township, though I have to say I think that's bullshit. If you're going to let those guys from Hinckley in, you might as well just start letting everyone in. Have some standards Zoo.

The Boy and I went this Monday, attempting to get some sunshine and also to make up for the disaster that was seeing Brooklyns Finest on Sunday afternoon, a terrible movie that should ruin the careers of everyone involved except Don Cheadle. Assuming Richard Gere and Wesley Snipe had careers left. On an unrelated note, so I always try to refer to the guys I date by nicknames on here right? Except when I hate them. Then I use last names. The Boy has mentioned he would like an upgrade to his nickname. His suggestion was Captain Awesomeness. I'm hesitant. It's a little long, frankly. I like The Sentinel, but then it sounds like I'm dating a crazy alien robot guardian, which I'm not opposed to but, melodramatic much? I'll think about it. People are so demanding.

This is a monkey who wants to eat that small boy's skull. He's thinking "I could feed my family off your body for a week." The boy is thinking "That monkey will be my friend!" Listen kid, monkeys are not your friends. If you ever come across a monkey in the wild, you should run, because there are probably 20 more of them in the trees and they will use you for dodgeball practice and then brunch. Your only hope is to offer them a trade, where you lure your other small defenseless friends into their trap in exchange for your own life. Growing up is hard in monkey country.

When you were little, the zoo was awesome cause you could go there entirely guilt free. Now as an adult you go, and it's a constant battle of conscience and justification, glee and guilt. Especially in the primate house. All the large animals are either pacing like broken records or lying around comatose. The glass is scratched up and dirty. We went to the wolf enclosure, which is this nice really large yard, and there was one wolf pacing furiously up and down against the window, while the other wolves looked on sympathetically and went about their wolfie business of digging in the snow. He was the broken wolf. The Boy said he needed his reset button pushed.

Its not so bad with the small animals, maybe cause you look in their eyes and know they're just thinking about how to hide in this tree better. Of course, this particular day I think we came around feeding time, because the red panda was clawing at the enclosure door exactly like my cat claws at the cabinet. So all the pacing was possibly accentuated by that. I know all the reasons zoos are great for protecting species and educating people and bringing unimaginable joy to little kids who are just thrilled they can see a monkey in person. I'm a fan of the zoo. I'm just saying, some of the magic is gone when you're older and able to project.

I feel like wallabies are the white tailed deer of Australia. Really cute, really destructive pests. I am still terrified of them though. Like, they will kick my face in terrified. This little guy is in the Australian Walkabout Experience, or whatever they call that place. It's a whole little corner meant to look like Australia, only Australia circa 1929 without the whores and drinking. Also, inexplicably there is a giant plaster tree with a ship's mast growing out of it, squat in the middle of the park. It looks like they acquired it when the sets for Hook were being sold off. Assuming I am a little kid, am I supposed to believe that ship was washed up in the middle of continent by a tsunami, and then the tree grew up below it, hoisting it into the air as a symbol of the impermanence of man? Cause I will, if you tell me to. I did appreciate learning about the giant fences sprawling across the continent to keep dingos out, and that it's all repurposed scrap metal, like a massive Mad Max style barricade. Maybe Australia is permanently stuck in 1929.

Oh, but the zoo is still fun and pleasant. It's still a good place to wander around with a date, avoiding large school groups, sipping coffee while the lions sun themselves. It's beautiful and grandiose and peaceful. More intellectually stimulating than just watching Planet Earth reruns. It's got a public purpose, and a sentimental one, and it reminds you to feel things in your soul even if they are not the best things. You can't go to the zoo without being reminded of your own selfishness, but then it gives you opportunities to ask for forgiveness. Mostly by donating money, but also with appreciation.

PS the other great thing about going to the zoo is if you don't have kids, there are a ton of other people's kids to entertain you with their kidness. But you don't have to take them home. In fact, it's encouraged that you don't.


  1. Australia had plenty of whores and drinking in 1929! Australia had whores and drinking in 1729! Australia is very advanced. I want to go there.

  2. I was not debating the presence of whores and drinking. I mean, that's all Australia was in 1929 right?

    all I'm pointing out is that perhaps the zoo is missing a golden opportunity to make more money by putting a bar in there. More authentic.

  3. The last time I went to zoo (in DC, early last November when I was unemployed and could spend a Friday doing whatever I wanted), I was entranced by the red pandas. Baby ones! SOO cute. I completely get the whole projection thing. It's why I can't get John to go with me, even when we lived three blocks from the place. I can get past the poor animals in cages thing, he can't. Or maybe I'm just more insensitive and callous than he is. That's probably it.

  4. Well it's you and me both then doll.

  5. I agree with your opinion of "Brooklyn's Finest" it will go on my worst movie ever list. (although not about the part of it ruining Richard Gere's career, as long as there are middle age women, he will have an audience.)

    Hinkley township peoples get in free on Monday because part of the Metroparks runs through there and they have to pay a tax along with Cuyahoga county residents that helps keep the zoo open.(that is why we get free Mondays.)

  6. I worked there for 2 summers when I was in school and it was an awesome summer job because I could chill in the ticket booth and listen to the radio (the Australian national anthem on repeat gets OLD quickly) and the people-watching, especially on Mondays during the summer, was phenomenal.

  7. I'm jealous, I totally wanted that job cause we lived right around the corner from the zoo on Archwood. My friend actually got to do a vet internship there, which made me hate him forever and ever and ever.

  8. oh, and as far as bars at the zoo go, you can totally get wasted in the African Savannah. I can't tell you how many parents told me they couldn't wait to get inside so they could get drunk.


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