Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Zoopygia

As hinted at yesterday, the trip to the Seattle Zoo was an ordeal, thanks mostly to the Easter “Bunny Bounce” program. We almost bailed, but having travelled so far decided to soldier on, and were quickly swept into the flow of parents and young children around the zoo.

As we bumped along from pavilion to pavilion, I wondered about this adult-youngster-zoo arrangement and mused that there are only two stages in most people’s lives in which they visit zoos. One is as young child, taken by parents. The second is as parent, accompanying young children. All that in-between time, and beyond-time, is for most, for the most part, zooless.

I noticed almost no one was reading the carefully researched and written (to the recommended Grade 5 level) signage that is a crucial part of the exhibits. Words words words, blah blah blah, WHERE’S THE MONKEY?

The crowd and the conflicting zoo-thing-in-general had me annoyed and wishing I were somewhere else when we stopped at the Malayan Tapir enclosure. It has a glass front. A large tapir was asleep against the glass, its flexible schnoz directed away. Its impressive rear end was front and center.

Our five-year-old, who up till this point had been relatively quiet, started shouting, quite gleefully, “Ha ha ha! He’s showing us his BUTT! Ha ha ha ha ha! Look at his BUTT! Ha ha ha! He has a HUGE BUTT!”

Americans and their well-behaved children looked aghast at the rude little Canadian and her hopelessly inept/immoral parents. Apologies, dear readers, for not reaching high above the heads of the innocents to take a picture of the HUGE BUTT, but we had to get out of there.

Unfortunately, when you are moving through a crowded facility with everyone going in the same direction, you tend to stay with the same clump of strangers. So we all ended up together at the hippos.

Daughter: “Ha ha. Look! Look at their BUTTS! I can see their BUTTS! Daddy! Take a picture of their BUTTS!”

Intense glares from the rest of our clump.

What the hell. I took a picture of their BUTTS. Yes, we are a coarse people, but don’t worry, we’ll be heading home directly.

Unintentionally arty picture of hippo BUTTS. The camera refused to focus on the hippos, chose instead to sharpen the spring greenery. Probably the right thing to do.

I find visits to zoos depressing, exhausting and unfulfilling, but now know why we take our children there. It’s for those "BUTT!" moments. Thanks, Sweetie.

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