We went to the Santa Barbara zoo. The nugget, my dad and I.
Lets get this out of the way: Zoos are a fucking weird part of the human existence, but I’m not about to get meta here.
The best part about this zoo is the train ride…and the collection of colorful parrots. The giraffes used to be cool when Gemina the crooked neck giraffe was alive, but now its just like starring at cows. The gorillas are just depressing, but there is a cage with miniature monkeys AND armadillos which I highly recommend.
The train itself is probably a lawn mower with a plaster shell and it pulls three seat-belt-less passenger carts behind it that are made for children – cramp inducing. I am not sure why this train has not been sued into storage for there are no restraints keeping my toddler from diving head first from his seat into the duck pond (his favorite part). I have no problem with this rickety old school entertainment style (I consider myself a Darwin-esk parent) but I mean, my arms were tired from keeping him in a sleeper hold for the whole 20 minute ride while he tried to dive into the pond or off the trestle or into the condor cage….
There was a person that rode the train with us whom we shall call Visor Lady. Mid-sixties, large white socks, horrible shorts, visor. You know the type.
She had some suggestions for the train staff (a mathlete with tomato-ey Bob Ross hair and his ‘ I used to be a mall Santa before the meth‘ boss) about how they could improve upon the experience. She suggested a more “kid centered” narrative for the tour guide/train conductor “Because kids just don’t know what ‘consume’ means, and they’re not going to get the subtle jokes…”
I have 3 rebuttles to this “suggestion” from Visor Lady that I was ready to hand out Foxy Brown style after she dished it to the poor defenseless Mathlete as we were exiting the train platform and he was giving us a stoned adios.
1. Kids are NOT supposed to get the subtle jokes about Gorillas having “afternoon delights” and lions sleeping all day from the tryptophan in the raw turkey meat! That’s what gets the adults through the afternoon, that’s the only thing we can enjoy in peace: witty quips that go over their heads!
2. None of the kids on the train were even listening to the droney babble they were too busy screaming “choo choo” and “quack quack”.
3. If you think that explaining to a 9 year old what ‘consume’ means is too hard and complicated and you’d rather just avoid it altogether… you shouldn’t be taking on any kind of child care position at all be it volunteer or otherwise, grandma.
But the Mathlete’s actual rebuttal was way better than anything that I could have come up with…
“Look lady, I just read what they give me on the paper… have a zooper day.” He seemed really genuine about it. But Visor lady was not satisfied.
“I’m sure you are just doing what you’re told, but it might be an idea to pass up the ladder.” She gave a salute as she sipped her bottled water and walked her leathery ass away. I don’t think she realized that the top of the ladder was ex-Mall Santa.
I pictured him composing a new script for Mathlete every time there was a shuffle in the animal line up. Maybe he works on it for days… maybe he has a notebook where he jots down ideas – a notebook full of witty quips about animals, trains, and zoos.