Posts Tagged ‘children’

The Zoo Story

February 7, 2014
Giraffes are cool.

Giraffes are cool.

Long-range relationships are difficult. As many of you may know, I’m working in San Francisco, while my wife is on our farmette in rural Pennsylvania. The other day we had one of those conversations.

Me: Hi, Honey! I just went to the San Francisco zoo! I saw some penguins there – they are sooooo frickin’ cute! OMGeezers! I just want to pick them up and squeeze the li’l fellers! So how are things on the farm?

Her: It’s 20 degrees out and freezing rain.

Pause.

Her: We have no power.

Me: Oh.

Her: Fritz* pooped in his water bucket. Again. It’s frozen.

Pause.

Me: That’s too bad, Honey.  Did I mention that I hugged a giant hairy anteater?

Her: You’re dead to me.

At times like these I find it’s best to not gloat too much about how cool it is here in San Francisco because I have to sleep sometime and she knows where I live. But I will state for the record that the SF Zoo is a fun place and I enjoyed my visit. (Perhaps not as much as I’d enjoy chipping our car out of the ice in PA, but it was a good time.) You should check it out.

Some birds. Presumably fighting over manflesh.

Some birds. Presumably fighting over manflesh.

So with love and sympathy to my poor wife who is suffering through a terrible ice storm back in Pennsylvania, here are some pictures from my trip to the SF Zoo. I’m flying in tomorrow, Honey! Save some ice for me!

I did not like the way these birds were looking at me.

I did not like the way these ostriches were looking at me.

Generally, you only see two types of folks at the zoo: parents with young children, and teenagers**. The kids are either trying to throw themselves into the alligator pit or are rightly terrified of these creatures. Here’s an actual conversation I overheard between a dad and his young son.

Dad: Timmy, do you see the Mccaw? It’s sleeping!

Kid: Yeah, can we please go before it wakes up?

The lad clearly understands the perils of hurled poo.

Gorillas. Doing gorilla stuff.

Gorillas. Doing gorilla stuff.

Rhinos are cool.

Rhinos are cool.

The teenagers are almost universally jerkfaces. The boys have clearly determined that the best way to impress their girlfriends is to act like huge assholes, and the girls are too busy texting to give a shit.

Teenage Boy: (Pointing at a giant anteater, shouts) It’s a dick! A huge, hair dick! Hey Michelle! Look at the huge hairy dick!”

Michelle: God, Brad, shut up! I’m texting that bitch Rachel.

Teenage Boy: Seriously! Check it out! It’s a huge hair dick! A huge, hairy, anteating dick! Don’t you see it? Hey Michelle…!

As a rule, all teenagers should be eaten by tigers.

This tiger's waiting for the teenagers to be hurled in.

This tiger’s waiting for the teenagers to be hurled in.

Penguins. Cute - and delicious!

Penguins. Cute – and delicious!

Penguins are adorable and ridiculous. Presumably they survive because anything that tries to eat them is likely to bust out laughing when they get close.

Aww! Want!

Aww! Want!

A mama grizzly. Probably Palin.

A mama grizzly. Probably Palin.

The Zoo was a blast, and I recommend that everybody go visit. Rent a small child to take with you if you don’t have one of your own: they really appreciate this stuff and through their eyes you will too.

I also got to see the Pacific Ocean, which looked chilly and very wet. There were crazy dudes with surfboards out there waiting for the big one. I watched to see if they caught a wave or got eaten by a giant squid, but nothing happened.  so after about 30 minutes I left. The whole thing was sandy and anticlimactic. But all in all it was a great day and I wish my wife had been here to share it.

Tomorrow I’m off to Pennsylvania to help chip ice and yell at the power company. That should be fun too!

“Hey, Honey! That icicle looks like a  huge dick, doesn’t it? Hey!”

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*Fritz the horse. Who did you think it was?

**And rarely, creepy old dudes with cameras.

Child’s Play

August 22, 2013

On the way to work this morning I passed five or six screaming little kids, each tied to this colorful red rope and being escorted down the street by a bunch of adults. This being Chinatown I assumed that they were being led off to market, perhaps to be purchased by a shadowy figure and raised as ninjas or converted into some kind of bacon, but it turns out that they were on the way to the local library where some creepy monster was going to tell them about the letter “Q”. Later THAT VERY MORNING I saw another bunch of kids similarly roped-up, thus proving that it’s a nationwide trend I can plausibly fill a few column-inches about in this blog.

As a youth I don’t remember ever being tied to other children*. On our few trips into the Big City I have a vague recollection of my mother or grandparents doing a lot of shouting and gesticulating and perhaps the occasional prodding of us with a lit cigarette if we got too much out-of-hand, but not this chain-gang stuff.

This is totally like the beginning of "Army of Darkness."

This is totally like the beginning of “Army of Darkness…”

Mind you, in those days we weren’t bombarded with appalling stories about child predators and serial killers by a desperate-for-attention news media, so child-rearing was more casual. I was not under adult supervision 100% of the time, forced to engage in an unending series of spirit-breaking rituals laughingly called “after-school sports.” Instead I got to do what I wanted, which usually meant watching seriously awful afternoon TV or reading trashy science fiction novels and eating potato chips with onion dip in my bedroom. Nowadays kids fill those empty hours by playing Animal Crossing and sexting each other, as God intended.

As a commuter, I have to commend the maturity of children on San Francisco’s rapid transit system. They mostly don’t launch themselves through the bus windows when the driver hits the breaks to avoid pulping some pot-addled cyclist who got confused about the whole “red = stop” thing. Nor do they get caught recycling the old gum that is often deposited on the undersides of the bus’s seats. I’m not saying that they don’t do that: but I’ve never seen one do it, so either way my hat’s off to ‘em**.

See? See?

See? See?

There are two types of children riding the bus in San Francisco: those I don’t notice and those I want to kill. The first group includes kids who are busily sexting or playing Animal Crossing or torturing their siblings or parents and not delaying the bus’s progress. Love them. The other group consists of kids who have tantrums, who block the bus aisle, or who in some way seek to interact with me. They should all be sent to secret ninja school on another continent.

The most terrifying kids are the toddlers standing in their mother’s laps in the seat in front of me. Having not yet been taught to be paranoidly wary of strangers, they peep over their mom’s shoulders directly into my eyes, often with this look of unutterable horror on their faces, as if I’m one of those sanity-curdling Lovecraftian monsters who has just come bubbling up from hell to eat their li’l souls.

What can I say to these kids to make them less appalled? “It’s all right, dear: I’m not a pervert” seems like it might cause more problems than it solves. “Gootchy-gootchy goo?” I think not. Do I say, “What a little sweetheart” while tousling their heads? Hell, I’ve never tousled my wife’s head; I’ll be damned if I’m going to tousle some booger-ridden strange kid’s greasy noggin. Ain’t happening, Little Timmy. Go fall down a well somewhere

So instead I do what everybody else does. I fiddle with my electronic gadgets and never, ever look up to make eye contact with anybody. Which is why, Honey, I need a new Nintendo 3Ds so I can play  Animal Crossing. It’s either that or sexting.

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*At least not by adults.

** I would totally get caught. I always did.